Petersburg to hire search firm to find new city manager

PETERSBURG, Va. – Petersburg city council voted to hire an executive search firm to find a new City Manager, despite public outcry not to spend additional funds while in a financial crisis.

Sources tell CBS 6 Rochelle Small-Toney, who was thought to be the city’s leading candidate, withdrew her application for the position this morning

Tuesday night, Petersburg residents made their voices heard over the fact that Petersburg's city council even considered hiring a woman to manage the city who was forced out of her last job as city manager.

“We going to bring someone like this in this city?” said Petersburg resident Raymond Crockett to applause.

“That's not at all the type of leadership we need in Petersburg,” said another Petersburg resident.

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Small-Toney is currently the deputy city manager in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but before that she was the city manager of Savannah, Georgia.

She was forced to resign amid allegations of mismanagement in 2012.

One taxpayer highlighted that and passionately told the council the woman currently holding the position in an interim role should get the job.

In fact, some residents have created a petition in support of acting city manager Dironna Moore Belton. It currently has 107 signatures.

Belton wants the job but council did not take action to hire her.

Instead, they voted to hire an executive search firm to find a new city manager, something Crockett wonders how they can afford.

“We are going to spend money we don't have,” said Crockett after the motion was approved.

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CBS 6 took Crockett’s concerns directly to council members.

“How are you possibly going to afford to pay an expensive executive search firm?” CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked council member Darrin Hill.

“We will look at finances and see how we can do it and maybe some of these search firms know the situation we are going through right now and they will be lenient on us,” said Hill.

Sounds like you guys feel you didn't do the proper background check on the last candidate?” Hipolit asked regarding Rochelle Small-Toney.

“It's possible,” said council member Jon Hart.