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COVENTRY –– This week the town council gave a warm welcome to Coventry’s new finance director — 36-year-old John Arnett of Plainville, Massachusetts, who started on September 4.

Arnett holds a Bachelors degree in economics and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Connecticut. He also holds a certificate in public finance from UCONN and received a second Masters degree in finance and economics from West Texas A&M University.

In the past Arnett worked for two years for the U.S. Small Business Administration in Boston, Massachusetts as an Administrative Officer and Economic Development Specialist. He also worked for two years for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Foxborough, Mass. as a Financial Institution Specialist.

“John’s got a good pedigree behind him on the training,” said Coventry Interim Town Manager Ed Warzycha. “He’s got good experience in the financial markets.”

Arnett also served in the United States Marine Corps, participating in tours in 2005 and 2006 in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“So I’m pretty sure John can handle the council,” Warzycha joked Monday night. “Welcome aboard and good luck. There’s a lot to catch up on.”

The town has been without a finance director since the resignation of former Coventry Finance Director Robert Thibeault in April of this year. The council is still working on appointing a permanent town manager after former manager Graham Waters also resigned in April.

“He’s on day five with the town,” said Warzycha. “He started the Tuesday after the holiday and he’s already diving right into all of the things that need to get caught up on from the last three months without a finance director.”

Arnett, who lives in Plainville, Mass., is also a former resident of Johnston, where he lived with his wife while she finished her Masters degree at Salve Regina University.

“We actually fell in love with Rhode Island, so I am very happy to be able to work in a state in which I have so many great memories.”

Arnett said he’s been “diving in head first” into all of the documents and paperwork that come along with taking over a finance position that’s been left vacant for several months.

“As I told Ed [Warzycha] on the first day I was interviewing — I love a challenge and so I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here,” he said. “I know there’s a lot to do, and I’m happy to do my best and I will.”

Arnett added that he has a great team to work with in the town’s finance department.

“They’re fantastic,” he said.

“It takes time to learn a new town,” said Coventry Town Council President Glen Shibley. “But Coventry can certainly use your talents. You will definitely have support from this council and the next council as well, I’m sure.”

Follow Kendra Port on Twitter @kendrarport

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