City bids farewell to 60 years of service


By Chris Berendt - [email protected]



Photos by Chris Berendt|Sampson Independent Tony Steffen shakes hands with Clinton Mayor Lew Starling. Steffen, the longtime Public Works manager, recently retired after 30 years with the City of Clinton Public Works and Utilities Department.


John Bennett Honeycutt shakes hands with Mayor Lew Starling. Honeycutt has retired after 30 years with City of Clinton Public Works, ending his career as utilities crew leader.


By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

A couple longtime City of Clinton Public Works employees named Tony and Bennett enjoyed their swan song on Tuesday night.

The two men, specifically longtime Public Works manager Anthony “Tony” Steffen and utilities crew leader John “Bennett” Honeycutt, were recognized at the City Council’s regularly monthly meeting for their years of dedication to the city.

Both started in 1986 and recently retired — Steffen at the beginning of June, Honeycutt at the end of June — after each serving 30 years with the City of Clinton. City staff and Council members paid tribute to the men, their leadership and vast institutional knowledge, which Mayor Lew Starling said would be sorely missed. The mayor called it a “sad occasion” that the city had to bid farewell to two stalwarts and their 60 years of experience and institutional knowledge.

“We wanted to recognize these fine gentleman and we wanted to take the time to thank them,” City manager Shawn Purvis said.

He recognized Steffen first.

“If there was a storm, Tony was involved. He worked in just about every division of the Public Works Department and was very instrumental in the current health and safety programs,” said Purvis. “I learned a lot from Tony in just the eight years I worked with him. I wanted to make sure we recognized him for his service to the community.”

Purvis said Steffen still rides around with some of his former co-workers assisting city residents on the side.

“I’ve known him for 40 years,” said Starling, who lauded Steffen’s service to the city “each and every day” of his employment. “You cannot imagine the stress on these folks during storms. It’s a lot of stress and they rise to the challenge. Tony, for your friendship and on behalf of the city, thank you.”

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure,” Steffen said. “Thank you so much.”

Honeycutt worked as a crew leader in the utilities side of the Public Works and Utilities Department. Purvis said the knowledge that men such as Honeycutt have brought to the job has been invaluable over the years.

“If you really want to know why we have put so much in our public utilities investment, doing mapping and getting everything online, it’s because folks like Bennett are leaving,” Purvis stated. “When I first came here and we had to locate a line, all you needed to do is call Bennett. They’d come out and tell us right where the lines were. I’ve been out to several jobs and watched Bennett work with his crew and it’s been a pleasure. We’ll miss him.”

The city manager said the six decades of institutional knowledge would be a tremendous loss for the city, which benefited greatly from their work.

“We wish them the very best,” said Purvis.

Steffen and Honeycutt each posed for pictures with Starling, who praised the men for their dedication to the job and Clinton.

“We want you to know how much we appreciate you,” the mayor said. “We have had a wonderful experience with Public Works — just excellent, excellent work. I can’t stress how much stress these people are under on a daily basis, whether it’s storms or just the general operation, it’s a very stressful business. It never stops. These two people are a great, great asset and that’s 60 years of experience we are going to miss. Thank you from the bottom of our heart.”

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Photos by Chris Berendt|Sampson Independent Tony Steffen shakes hands with Clinton Mayor Lew Starling. Steffen, the longtime Public Works manager, recently retired after 30 years with the City of Clinton Public Works and Utilities Department.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_tony.jpgPhotos by Chris Berendt|Sampson Independent Tony Steffen shakes hands with Clinton Mayor Lew Starling. Steffen, the longtime Public Works manager, recently retired after 30 years with the City of Clinton Public Works and Utilities Department.

John Bennett Honeycutt shakes hands with Mayor Lew Starling. Honeycutt has retired after 30 years with City of Clinton Public Works, ending his career as utilities crew leader.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_bennett.jpgJohn Bennett Honeycutt shakes hands with Mayor Lew Starling. Honeycutt has retired after 30 years with City of Clinton Public Works, ending his career as utilities crew leader.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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