August 12, 2020
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Now once again enjoying semi-retirement, Peter Neff once again stepped up to serve Clinton when the Town Council needed an interim town manager. Photo courtesy of Peter Neff

Now once again enjoying semi-retirement, Peter Neff once again stepped up to serve Clinton when the Town Council needed an interim town manager. (Photo courtesy of Peter Neff )

Peter Neff: Trusted with the Town’s Transition

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At its first ever meeting on Nov. 20, 2019 the Clinton Town Council had a big decision to make. The group was still in the process of interviewing candidates for the fulltime town manager position, but needed an interim manager. That person had to be someone who knew the town inside and out, someone who had an experience as a department head and could navigate the pitfalls that come with managing people, someone who could be trusted to keep the town operations running smoothly. The council unanimously selected Peter Neff.

Peter says that he was excited and proud that the council asked him to fill that role.

“It’s nice to be asked to come back and serve the town,” Peter says.

Peter served in the interim role from his appointment in November 2019 until the fulltime town manager, Karl Kilduff, officially started his job in early January.

“The main role was beginning to move the new government forward,” Peter explains.

In his interim role, Peter was tasked with making sure the day-to-day operations of the town went smoothly, recommending any new procedures for town department heads and employees that a town manager would want in place, and preparing the town for upcoming contract negotiations.

“I spent a lot of time going through the charter and setting up job and policy descriptions so everyone knew what their job was,” says Peter.

Prior to his involvement as the interim town manager, Peter enjoyed an almost 12-year long career as the director of the town’s Public Works Department. During that time, Peter oversaw the department change the scope of its duties to become a more robust department in town.

“It was a challenge. We went from just maintaining roads to also maintaining town buildings and other things as well,” Peter says.

Peter officially retired from this role in January 2019 before coming back to work for the town as the interim manager.

Peter credits his extensive involvement in other town boards and agencies with helping prepare him for his work with the Public Works Department.

“It was really...joining the volunteer fire department that got me involved in working in the town. I started in the department then worked my way up the ranks until I was chief,” says Peter.

In addition to his work on the fire department, Peter served on several building committees in town and spent Peter says that as he and his family lived in town, community involvement came naturally.

“I think I’ve always been involved. It’s a way to give back to the community in a positive way,” he says.

In addition to his various roles in Clinton, Peter spent 33 years as a teacher in New Haven. Peter graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and while he was at school working on a degree in science, he became interested in an education career.

“I taught special education for many years, and there very few male special education teachers back then when I went through school,” Peter says.

In fact, Peter recalls that there were only three male special education teachers in his program when he graduated. During more than three decades of teaching, Peter taught kindergarten to 8th grade students.

“I had like three different teaching careers—I taught special education, I taught science, and then I taught math and technology,” Peter says.

Peter was born in Greenwich and grew up in Springdale, a suburb of Stamford. When Peter and his wife were starting to work in New Haven, they began looking for a town to live on the shoreline.

“We drove down West Main Street and we fell in love with the town, to be honest with you,” Peter says.

They moved to Clinton in 1978.

“We raised our kids here and it was just a great place to raise a family,” Peter says. “I think there’s an awesome amount of people that donate their time to keep the community going.”

Now that he’s no longer the interim manager, Peter can return to his retirement, which he says he’s been enjoying, though can still be found working in town, every now and again. He currently is “working a little” in the town’s Land Use Office to help that department with its document management.

He says he may get back into working with stained glass, a hobby he hasn’t had time to pursue in years. He also enjoys making regular trips to Maine with his wife and spending time with his grandkids.

“It’s really been a wonderful time,” Peter says.

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