Council members vote to remove Portsmouth city manager during explosive meeting

Angel Jones terminated as PT city manager (May 24)
PT city council Angel Jones terminated (May 24)
PT city council Angel Jones terminated (May 24)
Posted at 9:53 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 17:22:25-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Portsmouth's city manager has been ousted from her position in an explosive city council meeting filled with yelling and profanity.

A city spokesperson confirmed to News 3 that Portsmouth City Council members voted 4-3 to remove Angel Jones from her role as city manager during Tuesday night's meeting, which got rather heated.

One of the council members outraged over the firing was Councilwoman Lisa Lucas-Burke, who suggested Jones had something on certain members trying to oust her.

"She got a lot on this council, and that's why they want to get rid of her. And I hope that y'all [are] seeing what's happening, and I hope you make your decision when November comes," Lucas-Burke said. "I'm pissed that the [expletive].... yeah, I'ma say it. I'm mad as a [expletive], I am. Because I know what's been going on."

Councilwoman Lisa Lucas-Burke outraged over City Manager Angel Jones' ousting

Jones, however, remained composed when she was suddenly let go.

Those who voted to terminate Jones' contract included Vice Mayor De'Andre Barnes; Mayor Shannon Glover voted against terminating her contract.

PT city council Angel Jones terminated (May 24)

Jones continued to sit up at the dais for the remainder of the meeting. This is what she had to say after the vote:

"I just wanted to state that when I elected to apply for this position, I applied for it because that's what God's purpose was for my life at the time. So, the decisions that Man is making on this dais tonight does not control my future.

I am going to continue to work on my assignment, and whether that assignment is here or somewhere else, I'm going to give it my best, and that's all I know how to do. But I was warned that if I didn't accept that resignation, that I would be terminated, so I'm not surprised.

But I am not a quitter; I came here under a 4-3 vote, and I knew that I could leave under a 4-3 vote.

And so it is what it is, and I'll be fine. Thank you."
Angel Jones, former city manager of the City of Portsmouth

Jones was appointed city manager during a special meeting in March 2021.

News 3 reporter Leondra Head spoke with Councilman Bill Moody after the meeting. He voted for Jones to stay with the city.

"We were pretty blindsided. The way it was handled was without cause. She was fired without cause, no public reason given... extremely unprofessional," Moody said. "This sends a bad signal to the whole region - that if you work in Portsmouth, it might not be a long-term situation. She’s been here less than a year. She made a big commitment to come here after we hired her. She bought a house here."

News 3 reporter Penny Kmitt checked in with Moody the next day. He says the Portsmouth city council is divided, adding that council members Paul Battle, Chris Woodard, Dr. Mark Whitaker, and Vice Mayor De'Andre Barnes refuse to work alongside other city leaders.

"These four members have disrespected our mayor and I think their actions last night certainly disrespected our city manager," he said in a Zoom interview.

Last month, Moody says the council reviewed Jone's work as city manager. And despite the four council members who ousted Jones giving her unfairly low ratings, she still came out with an average score.

Moody says Jones improved public safety and helped the Portsmouth Police Department hire more officers, but some council members didn't like her regardless.

When asked what it would take for the council to become unified again, Moody responded "I think an election at this point."

Deputy City Manager Mimi Terry was appointed interim city manager at Tuesday's meeting.

This is a developing story. You can expect News 3 to follow this story Wednesday.

Stay with News 3 for updates.