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Petersburg taps new city attorney with six to one vote

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Friday afternoon Petersburg City Council voted to appoint Joe Preston as the new city attorney.

There were five candidates  vying for the job and Preston, a well-known lawyer in courthouses across the Tri-Cities area, won by a  six to one vote.

Previous city attorney Brian Telfair resigned in late February, after a huge financial mess over unresolved water bills. City Manager William Johnson was asked to resign shortly afterward.

Joseph Preston

Joseph Preston

"Attorney Preston is knowledgeable with respect to the legal system and a member of the bar, and of course, he resides here in Petersburg," said Mayor Howard Myers.

The lone dissenting vote came from Councilman Brian Moore. "I just didn't feel that he was best for the city; I made the vote and I'll support the majority of Council," he said after the meeting adjourned.

Mayor Myers addressed some of the concerns about Preston's limited municipal experience.

"I think with any lawyer, you may have some specialties but that doesn't preclude you from having additional knowledge of how to institute those laws," he said.

Preston's salary is $139,500 a year and includes the 10 percent pay cut as mandated by City Council for most city employee's.

Preston said his amicable to the arrangement.