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Folks riled over meeting to pick Petersburg mayor, vice mayor

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Some residents are questioning transparency over the selection of Petersburg's next mayor and vice mayor during a city council meeting scheduled for noon on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Barb Rudolph with the watchdog group Clean Sweep Petersburg believes the timing of the meeting is unacceptable.

"Having meetings at noon does really limit the participation of both working people and students," Rudolph said. "I think it is just a continuation of the past practices."

Petersburg

Petersburg

Council members were criticized in 2016 for holding more than a dozen midday and mid-afternoon meetings.

In fact, the ACLU sent a letter to council members in November outlining their concerns about meeting times and locations.

Many in Petersburg were hopeful council members would be more transparent in the coming year.

Robert Dugger, a concerned citizen, said he thinks meetings should be scheduled when and "where the people should be able to show up."

"For them to go ahead and schedule a meting at noon, during work hours for most people, seems like they are very tone deaf," Rudolph said.

The council's first meeting first meeting of 2017 also concerns council member Treska Wilson-Smith.

"Our citizens to be involved, they've asking, they've brought it to our attention. I say let's listen to them," Wilson-Smith said.

However, Mayor Howard Myers said there is precedence for the scheduled time.

"At this particular time I don't see where it would provide any difference whether we move it from 12 to 6 to 6:30," Myers said.

Myers also said he also is planning to run for re-election because he believes continuity is critical for the troubled city.