Petersburg mayor responds to concerns voiced by lone city cashier

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg’s last city cashier blew the whistle Thursday to 8News about the lack of manpower in the city’s treasurer’s office.

In that exclusive interview, cashier Karen Freeman shared that even her job is set to be cut due to budget restraints.

On Friday, Mayor Sam Parham responded to her worries about losing her job.

“Hopefully we can find another place for her if her position doesn’t make the cut,” Parham said. “Everyone who is an asset, we want to use you in another place.”

Parham shared the plans for collections if the budget that calls for cutting two positions from the treasures office is passed.

“The plan is we’re doing some realigning of positions throughout the city, and we’re doing some consolidations, and council is also looking at proposing bringing back the (tax) collector’s position,” Parham explained.

But what is the difference between a collector and the treasure?

“The difference is the treasurer is a constitutional officer which is elected by the people, the city collector is actually an employee of City Council,” Parham said.

With 13 million dollars owed to the city, what this means is if the tax collector doesn’t do a good job at collecting that money, council can fire them. Currently, since the treasurer is an elected position, council’s hands are tied.

8News Reporter Parker Slaybaugh asked Parham if Kevin Brown, the current city treasurer, is to blame for the millions that have not been collected?

“Kevin has done a great job, to the best of his abilities, but we still have a lot of money out there,” Parham said.

And with Brown not running for reelection, Parham says they need someone serious about collections.

“Council really does not want to take any chances on having to get someone in there and hope that they can provide what the citizens need, which is strong collections,” said Parham.

The meeting to vote on that budget is June 6th.

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