Rocky Mount residents try again to voice their concerns to council members
Posted January 21, 2019 9:11 p.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2019 10:25 p.m. EST
Rocky Mount, N.C. — A meeting on Monday afternoon once again brought together hundreds of Rocky Mount residents who have concerns to bring up with council members.
For the first time, David Combs, the mayor of Rocky Mount, addressed the controversy surrounding the city's manager.
Many residents want Rochelle Small-Toney to resign or be dismissed from her role as Rocky Mount's city manager. Among other reasons, there is concern about a recent remodeling at Small Toney's office and what appears to be a violation of rules that have city employees live in city limits.
Residents also voiced concerns about some news reports questioning her spending and hiring during her time managing the City of Savannah.
Combs said the city is aware of the allegations and sent a retired police officer to Savannah, Georgia, before Small-Toney was hired, but later said the officer didn't find any of the allegations to be true.
"Has too much damage been done?" Combs said. "I'm not sure any manager could be effective after this relentless media pressure. I believe the public's trust is critical in managing the operations of a city and when that public's trust is lost by employees, it's almost possible to recover."
The public comment during the meeting had residents split. The city's history of a racial divide was at the center of some of the debate.
"At the end of the day it's my personal opinion that if Ms. Rochelle Small-Toney was white woman or white person, this would not be happening right now," one man said.
Combs said there will be an independent review, but it is not clear on who will perform the review or when it will take place.