PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — City council members in Petersburg selected the city’s next mayor and vice mayor Tuesday afternoon.
In a surprising move, Petersburg’s former mayor, Howard Myers, nominated his former sidekick, Samuel Parham, to be next in charge. Myers previously said he wished to remain mayor but instead tapped Parham, the city’s former vice mayor, for the role on Tuesday. Council members gave the stamp of approval in a 4:3 vote.
“It is a very tough job, but I am very privileged to have the opportunity to be living in this city and being an investor here I really want it to do well,” Parham told 8News.
Parham is no stranger to Petersburg. He graduated from Petersburg High School in 1981. He holds a business degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his professional experience includes a stint as Vice President of Colonial Cleaning Service.
Myers passed the mantle to Parham citing the need for consistency in leadership.
“I am very proud to have the opportunity to nominate my vice mayor,” Myers said. “I think he is going to do a fine a job. The qualities that we share I think we will continue to move the city forward basically it is for continuity purposes.”
Petersburg is battling a financial crisis of $18 million in debt, an issue Parham is well aware of.
“We are taking steps to move the city forward,” Parham explained. “We have the Robert Bobb Group that is here and they are making great strides. They are getting down to what happened, how to correct it and how to move forward.”
The city’s new vice mayor, John Hart, Sr., says unity must be a priority for solving the city’s money problems.
“Sam and I will be able to work well together. We worked well these last two years and it is about bringing the seven (city council members) together, sitting down and doing the things that we need to do to be progressive.”
City residents had mixed feelings about the change.
“I still don’t think Mayor Parham and some of the other people on council are real well prepared to run things,” said Barb Rudolph with Clean Sweep Petersburg, a group that was created with a mission to oust members of city council.
Another resident, Richard Taylor, is more optimistic.
“I think change is good and the proof will be in the pudding if they can get together and work together to bring everybody together and take the city to where it needs to be.”
Samuel Parham will be city’s next mayor and John Hart Sr. will be the city’s next vice mayor.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.