Petersburg City Council appoints new city manager

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - After a five month nationwide search Petersburg has a new city manager. Council voted Thursday morning to appoint 47-year-old William Johnson lll to the position.

Johnson beat out 60 other candidates for the job after the current city manager announced plans to retire.

"It's good to be back home," said Johnson.

He's from Richmond but currently lives in College Park, Georgia, where he served as city manager for 2 years. Johnson has also served as the Deputy County Administrator in Chesterfield County and Deputy City Manager for Richmond.

NBC12 asked Johnson what's his vision for Petersburg.

"One thing that's very important is economic development, also we want to make sure the city is clean and a destination," said Johnson.

Johnson describes himself as upright, loyal family man. Those who live Petersburg want to know if he'll be able get the job done.

Residents and business owners say they're optimistic. They're also very clear on key issues they want the new city manager to make a top priority.

Arifah Rogers owns two businesses in Petersburg. She wants to see the city prosper which she says can be achieved by giving people a reason to come to Petersburg.

"I'd love to see new business come in -- fresh ideas -- that would be wonderful," said Rogers.

Dr. James Davenport loves antique cars and the city of Petersburg. He hopes the new city manager will decrease unemployment and increase safety.

"We are proud of what we have here and we're proud of our potential. We hope he's willing and capable of working with all segments of the community," said Rogers.

Johnson will make $156,000 a year in his new position. His first day on the job will be July 25th.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.