Petersburg council meeting ends with no decision on next city manager


PETERSBURG, Va-(WRIC) — Petersburg City Council held a special meeting Wednesday to announce details about their selection of the city’s next manager.

Rochelle Small-Toney

Multiple sources tell 8News that council was considering hiring Rochelle Small-Toney, currently the deputy city manager in Fayetteville, NC. She’s worked there for the last three years. Before her employment in North Carolina, Small-Toney was the city manager in Savannah, Georgia.

At the end of her tenure, she was publicly reprimanded for a number of things, including mishandling of funds. The Savannah City Council in August 2012 released a statement about the issues with Small-Toney. It reads, in part:

“Bills have not been paid when they should have been paid. Employment credentials have not been examined as they should have been. Requests for bids have been improperly handled. Travel expenses have not been processed correctly and the city’s travel policy has not been followed.”

According to the Savannah Morning News, Small-Toney authorized purchase orders without council approval. The purchase orders were for police and fire consulting services exceeding the required $25,000 council approval threshold by $8,000.

Prince Duke Adu-Gyamfi

“If we are a city that we are dealing with financial issues and accountability and pretty much bad governance, I don’t think we are in a position to bring in somebody who has baggage,” expressed Prince Duke Adu-Gyamfi of concerned Citizens of Petersburg for Positive Change.

“I think that they can find and select a candidate who has a clean slate who knows what they are going to step into and doesn’t necessarily have a negative background,” added Genaya Preston.

Small-Toney resigned as city manager of Savannah in the fall of 2012.

“We are never exempt from life’s circumstances, dilemmas, and situations. I hopefully and prayerfully she has learned from her past,” Voncillia Smith said.

Dironna Belton.

Some residents believe council should hire current Acting City Manager Dironna Belton, who took over earlier this year after William Johnson, III was ousted over reports of mismanagement.

“We have somebody here who is doing the job,” Adu-Gyamfi said. “She may not have all of the degrees on paper right, but she has shown us with her work dedication that she has is willing and more than able to do the job.”

Council adjourned Wednesday’s meeting without making a decision.

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