After two and a half years on the job, Westerly’s Town Manager, Derrik M. Kennedy, is leaving to accept the Town Manager’s position in Mansfield, CT, where he’ll earn a substantial pay increase and leave behind rumors that his job in Westerly was in jeopardy.
Kennedy resisted a last-ditch effort Monday night by some Westerly councilors to keep him from leaving. He said instead he was taking the Mansfield job, which pays $148,000 annually (more than $20,000 above his Westerly pay) because he felt he didn’t have full support from the Westerly Council.
Kennedy has endured the ire of some in the community, and on the council, when he hired Richard Silva, former West Warwick Police Chief, over Capt. Shawn Lacey, who had been with the Westerly Department for several years and had been acting police chief since the retirement of Edward St. Clair some months earlier.
Councilman Jean Gagnier, a strong Kennedy supporter, praised the town manager but was also confident the council could come together in its search for a successor. He said he hopes the council agrees to hire an outside firm to facilitate the search for a new town manager, and said he expects the council to act swiftly to develop its search process.
Kennedy, meanwhile, returns to a community he knows well. Mansfield, which includes Storrs, is home to the University of Connecticut, from which Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in both History and Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA). Kennedy had also served as the Assistant Town Manager of Enfield, Connecticut.
Kennedy said he will remain on the job in Westerly for two months, during a transition, and begin his new job in Mansfield in May.