Petersburg city manager fired effective immediately - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Petersburg city manager fired effective immediately

City Manager William Johnson (Source: City of Petersburg) City Manager William Johnson (Source: City of Petersburg)
City Attorney Brian Telfair (Source: NBC12) City Attorney Brian Telfair (Source: NBC12)

A major leadership shakeup is coming to Petersburg after Thursday night’s City Council meeting.

It all started on Feb. 18 when hundreds packed a meeting where council members voted to negotiate parting ways with City Manager William Johnson and City Attorney Brian Telfair. Two weeks later, there was a final decision.

Council members voted unanimously to terminate Johnson, effective immediately.

Telfair will officially step down Friday, March 4 and will receive a severance package. Mayor Howard Myers made it clear that Telfair stepping down did not have anything to do with the current state of the city, regarding the utility bills and the city's finances. Telfair said in an email that he resigned due to health reasons.

"I thank the citizens of Petersburg, Virginia for the opportunity to serve them," Telfair said. "I wish them and their leaders well as they continue to move the City forward."

However, it was a unanimous vote for both positions, with only Myers not casting a vote.

Those in attendance were glad to see leadership changes.

"I think that's awesome, and I think the same should have been for the city attorney. I don't see why one would be terminated and one wouldn't. I think that's just an attorney's way of working his way out of getting a job when he moves on," said resident Gina Harrison.

Johnson will not receive a severance package. Per his contract, he is not due severance if fired for unsatisfactory performance.

"We have no money ... our water bills ... nothing's being paid," Harrison said.

Residents are now looking to the future of their city with two hopes for city leaders moving forward: transparency and accountability.

"It was time that they resolved the issue," said Kay Beale.

The mayor and two council members will serve as the city manager, along with a city employee to serve as the chief operating officer. That plan will be in place for 60 days.

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