Robert Bobb Group wants to come back to Petersburg in April

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Robert Bobb Group, hired to turn around failing city finances also wants to be hired to assess the progress of their plan. The Bobb Group is scheduled to leave at the end of the month, and the price tag for that assessment would be $50,000. But, the money would come from the state, not the city.

Some residents are not so sure that rehiring the advisers is in the city’s best interest.

“It’s unnecessary, and it really undermines the administration that we’ve just put in place,” said Barb Rudolph, a Petersburg resident.

Rudolph, and others like her, said she feels it’s not necessary for the Robert Bobb Group to come back in six months just to tell them what they are doing right and what they can still improve on.

“We have a competent city manager, we have folks who are getting on their feet and making the city work well,” Rudolph said. “I feel like having Bobb come back is kind of a no-win proposition.”

The Robert Bobb Group negotiated the money with the state and the state agreed to pay the bill for the six-month checkup of sorts. For his part, Interim Assistant City Manager Jack Berry, who was brought in by the group, says the review is needed.

“The Governor’s office has very graciously provided some funding for Petersburg to fund the Bobb Group, which has been the turn around consulting for Petersburg, and part of that funding was to come back in April and access the progress during the last six months to see how the recommendations have been implemented,” Berry said. “To see if any further recommendations are needed at that time.”

Some residents say they don’t mind a six month check up, but want an outside company involved.

“My position would be absolutely having an independent evaluation could be a good thing,” Rudolph said. “But Robert Bobb is full of self-interest. There is no independence there. I’m not saying the man isn’t capable of it, but in this particular situation, I think that would be highly suspect.”

In the end, after many people publicly spoke on the topic, the council tabled a decision until their next meeting. The state would have to give their permission before something else was allowed to be done with the money.

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

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