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Ousted Savannah city manager reported at top of list for Petersburg job

PETERSBURG, Va. – A special Petersburg City Council meeting will be held on Sept. 14 regarding the selection of a City Manager, one which multiple sources say will be Rochelle Small-Toney, who resigned as Savannah’s City Manager after a reported shakeup in 2012.

Petersburg City Manager William Johnson was dismissed from his duties in March 2016, after a $3 million budget shortfall in 2015 and a water utility issue that plagued residents for months.

Rochelle Small-Toney. PHOTO: screengrab, YouTube WSAV

Rochelle Small-Toney. PHOTO: screengrab, YouTube WSAV

The city now has a $12 million budget shortfall and their finances are being investigated by federal and state authorities.

Petersburg has attempted to get buckle down amid citizen concerns about basic safety and services. Hundreds packed a meeting on Sept. 6 as city leaders attempted to amend the budget and increase revenue to cover losses.

News that Rochelle Small-Toney could be the next City Manager may not assuage already concerned citizens.

Her 19-month tenure as City Manager in Savannah brought rumblings and allegations of financial mismanagement, a $6 million backlog of unpaid bills, travel policy violations, lawsuits, racial bias , complaints, according to published news reports. 

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PHOTO: WSAV3

Mayor Edna Jackson asked for her resignation after a three-hour closed door meeting, but Small-Toney refused, according to a news report from 2012. That same reporter, Meredith Ley, wrote that City Council members felt she was not qualified for the position.

The mayor who hired Small-Toney stood behind his decision, and several supporters spoke in her defense.

Small-Toney moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she serves as Deputy City Manager.  She began in 2013, according to published reports, with a salary of $158,000.

Reporters Wayne Covil and Melissa Hipolit will cover the meeting tonight, and we will have updates on WTVR.com and on-air.