Portsmouth city manager's start date delayed

tonya chapman.PNG
Posted at 7:07 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 07:08:37-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Council members plan to discuss Tonya Chapman’s city manager contract in Tuesday's city council meeting. The former chief of the Portsmouth Police Department, now the new city manager, was expected to start Tuesday, June 28; however, her start date has been pushed back.

Council members tell News 3 the delay is due to an unfinished background check.

Mayor Shannon Glover was not pleased with what was proposed in Monday's closed session regarding Chapman’s employment. Glover says the city council is trying to find common ground on Chapman’s contract. Glover says he is disappointed in that four council members proposed a $400,000 severance pay if Chapman is let go or terminated during her first year as city manager.

"If the city manager that has been appointed is fired with or without cause in the first year, the four majority members of council recommend that she receive two-year severance which is $400,000. It's egregious. It's not the standard," Glovers tells News 3 reporter Leondra Head. "As a part of my oath, I feel a responsibility to be transparent and open about what will happen to the taxpayers' dollars. Any attempt to give any person that is appointed more than what they are entitled to is not going to be acceptable," Glover said.

The three members say that previous city managers were not offered a severance pay as high as that amount.

"None of our appointees that we have ever appointed, city attornery, city clerk, city managers in the past. It is a terrible slap in the face to them and anyone coming behind them if they are not offered something similar," Councilwoman Lisa Lucas-Burke said.

Four out of seven council members support Chapman getting a severance pay of $400,000 dollars.

"We had two closed meeting and there no other recommendations from the other three council members that sit on here. To say that this was agreement among four or three council members. That’s not true,"Councilman Chris Woodard said.

A full crowd of spectators filled the seats as city council discussed Chapman’s contract. One resident even being escorted out by police for loud outbursts.

"Y'all are full of shit," one resident says as he's being escorted out by police.

One Portsmouth resident saying she wants the chaos to come to an end.

"I have people that I know that don’t even live in this state and they ask ‘what’s going on in little ole Portsmouth’ and I say it’s just terrible and embarrassing."

Glover believes Chapman's contract will be finalized in the upcoming days.

Related: Council members vote to remove Portsmouth city manager during explosive meeting