PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A group of citizens is trying to recall Portsmouth Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes and Councilman Mark Whitaker in the wake of the firing of former City Manager Angel Jones, who Whitaker and Barnes voted to fire last month.
Concerned Citizens of Portsmouth held a press conference on Tuesday morning to discuss the recall effort and announce the petition they would be circulating.
“We stand with this pact, with this committee, and its efforts to recall the two said candidates. We endorse their efforts,” said a man who identified himself as the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Steering Committee. “… I believe that as a community working together, once we have accomplished this objective, that we can identify capable candidates who have a history of working for the common good of all and elect such persons to serve and represent.”
Jones, who served less than a year in the position, was fired on May 24 in a tense meeting. Councilman Paul Battle and Councilman Christopher Woodard joined Whitaker and Barnes in the 4-3 vote.
“The firing of Jones was new information even to me when it was brought to light inside the closed-door meeting,” said Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes. “I didn’t know anything about it.”
Barnes claims there were no secret meetings, and when questioned by 10 on Your Side, petition organizers acknowledged they have no evidence of such meetings either.
Watch the full briefing below.
Mayor Shannon Glover, Councilwoman Lisa Lucas-Burke and Councilman Bill Moody voted against the firing with Glover called it an “egregious injustice.” Lucas-Burke, in heated remarks, said ““[Jones] got a lot on this council, and that’s why they want to get rid of her.”
“We elected a mayor, and we elected council members we did not elect a de-facto mayor, and we did not elect renegade council members.”
Portsmouth City Councilwoman Lisa Lucas Burke said it was Whitaker who called Jones to his church and told her to resign or be fired.
“Not allowing people to speak and voice their concerns is a bigger problem. We are a democracy.”