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New police, fire chiefs herald fresh era for Petersburg

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Two major changes in leadership took place Friday when the new fire and police chiefs who were sworn in Petersburg.

And a new city manager will be sworn in and a new finance director will start work Monday.

The changes come as the Robert Bobb Group, an interim management team hired to help the city through its financial crisis, is set to wrap up work at the end of September.

Kenneth Miller placed his hand on the Bible and was sworn in as the city's police chief.

Miller said he is looking for "an opportunity for all of us to gel, to get in one accord, to look at expectations from the new direction of our leadership team..."

High on the list for Miller is community engagement and internal training for officers.

Dennis Rubin also placed his hand on the Bible and he was sworn in as the new fire chief.

"I think I'm coming in to a great opportunity," Rubin added. "Without doubt I think they're trying to put the leadership and management team in place that is really going to make a difference."

Rubin said he and his team will also work on a plan to replace some of the city's fire stations.

 

The new city manager will be sworn in Monday evening and the new finance director begins Monday as well.

With the new city manager and finance director starting Monday, there will be more changes within city hall.

In fact, some departments have been consolidated in an effort to streamline services for residents and potential business owners. And the department of public works and public utilities were separated into two departments.

The changes also mean the new leadership will have institutional knowledge since some long-term department heads remain.

"I think you have some new people coming in," Tom Tyrrell, the interim city manager, said. "And you have a nice mixture of people with tremendous history and knowledge of the city."