Could Robert Bobb Group help turn Petersburg around?

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Robert Bobb Group, a consulting firm, could soon be helping turnaround the city services.

On Tuesday the City Council voted to allow the acting city manager to enter into negations with the group in hopes of bringing their services to Petersburg.

Treska Wilson-Smith is the only council member who voted against the group’s hiring, but it passed city council regardless 5 to 1. Wilson-Smith says it will cost them a lot of money, which was the main reason she voted against it.

The Robert Bobb Group is based in Washington D.C. 8News spoke to the Owner, Robert Bobb, and asked him his plan for the city.

“We have a bench that is very deep in understanding how urban municipal governments work and function with experts in finance, operations, I myself have been a city manager in some of the most difficult municipalities,” said Bobb.

Bobb told council members he plans is to have the city turned around in an incredibly short amount of time, just five months.

“It is a short amount of time but I think we can provide the city with a pathway for going forward within that time period,” said Bobb.

Bobb is no stranger to the area, he was Richmond’s City Manager from 1986 to 1997. Leaders 8News spoke with in Richmond had positive things to say about Bobb. But after Richmond he eventually was called to help with the crisis in Detroit. Specifically, he was tasked with helping turn around the schools. According to Business Insider, Bobb was tasked with tackling the roughly $400 million budget deficit. But according to Business Insider one year after Bobb started, the deficit was about $100 million higher.

“Detroit was a system not only in a financial problem but also a situation where you had a cesspool of corruption,” said Bobb.

Bobb says he rooted out the corruption in Detroit and says people are now in jail because of his firm. He says that attitude is what he will bring to Petersburg.

“We have zero tolerance for individuals and/or an individual who is not protecting the public funds,” said Bobb.

8News asked both Bobb and several council members the estimated amount this could cost the city, no one would say citing ongoing negotiations. Sources tell 8News the price tag could be around $300,000. Aside from Richmond and Detroit Bobb has also worked in Kalamazoo, Santa Ana, Oakland and Washington D.C.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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