Rocky Mount city council to hire law firm to review practices

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 The Rocky Mount City Council said it is hiring a law firm to review city practices after some people accused the city manager of mismanagement.  

The turnout was so strong for Monday’s meeting that attendees filled council chambers, an overflow room, and spilled into the city hall lobby. Some who live in Rocky Mount, including the city’s former fire chief, said they’ve lost confidence in their city government.

“I’ve got too much invested in this city to stand by and watch mismanagement, cronyism, intimidation, and fear,” said Keith Harris. He added that he’s concerned with the city manager and council.

Last month, city manager Rochelle Small-Toney held onto her job despite some in the city raising concerns about her hiring a friend for a city position, as well as concerns over employees leaving the city.

At Monday night’s meeting, more than one person addressed ethics.

“The trust in this administration is gone,” said Harris. 

Others still support city leaders.

“I will say to all the council, ‘You are doing a great job,” said Rev. Thomas Walker.  

“I think it has divided the city along with some lines that I was hoping we wouldn’t end up being divided along,” said resident A.B. Whitley.

Several people called for unity, including Samuel Battle.

“People need to come together as one. These trying to throw race issues in here, it’s trying to mess everything up,” he said. “We just need to come together as people that’s all.” 

The mayor said the city’s chosen a law firm to review hiring practices, employee morale, and financial management and will also set up a toll-free number so employees can report issues. That review is expected to take four to six weeks. 

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