Portsmouth City Manager to retire at end of 2020

Posted at 10:16 AM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 10:16:34-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Portsmouth City Manager Dr. L. Pettis Patton will retire at the end of the year, according to a city announcement that was released on Friday.

Dr. Patton has announced her plans to retire, effective December 31, 2020. She was selected by a unanimous vote of the Portsmouth City Council and began her tenure as City Manager on September 1, 2015.

The city said, "In what was a return to the City of Portsmouth, Dr. Patton continued her career in public service where she has dedicated more than 35 years."

Dr. Patton has held many leadership positions in Portsmouth including:

  • Director of Parks and Recreation 1986-l990
  • Director of Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services 1990-1991
  • Director of Parks, Recreation and General Services 1994-2002
  • Deputy City Manager 2002-2008

Dr. Patton, who received her Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership, Recreation and Leisure Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, also received a Master of Education in College Student Personnel, Guidance and Counseling from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, the city said.

“Your tenure as Portsmouth City Manager has been a period of growth for our city, and you created the capacity for us to continue this growth into the future,” said Mayor John L. Rowe, Jr., regarding Patton’s retirement announcement. “We are sincerely appreciative of your enthusiasm for our community, and we have been the beneficiary of your passion for excellence. We will miss your leadership,” Mayor Rowe added.

According to the city, Dr. Patton is credited with achieving five major initiatives during her tenure as Portsmouth’s City Manager:

  • Budgeting: For each of her five years, Dr. Patton presented fiscally responsible municipal budgets with No Real Estate Tax Increases.
  • Economic Development: Under Dr. Patton’s leadership, Portsmouth’s Economic Development secured over $500 million in new capital investment, while creating an additional 900 new jobs.
  • Organizational Strategist: Dr. Patton realigned the municipal organization for overall maximum performance relative to hiring City Department Heads, fiscal responsibility, and overall efficacy.
  • Zoning: Dr. Patton commenced the rewriting of the city’s Zoning Ordinance to create a single, integrated, streamlined, and user-friendly ordinance to ensure compliance with state code while also enhancing and increasing development opportunities.
  • Technology: Enhanced the city’s technological infrastructure through smart city strategic planning, municipal connectivity (Portsmouth community broadband network PCBN), and data-driven decision aggregation.

Officials said Portsmouth City Council has retained the services of GovHRUSA, an executive level recruiting firm, to help with a "successful transition in leadership."