PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton will retire as Portsmouth’s city manager at the end of the year, the city announced Friday.

Pettis Patton has held the position since September of 2015, and has worked with the city since the 1980s. Her last day will be December 31, 2020.

The city praised her 35-plus years of service in a press release, pointing to her work with the city’s budget, securing more than $500 million in economic development and streamlining city services. Though Pettis Patton has faced criticism in her tenure as city manager. In 2019, there were calls for her resignation after the city’s former police chief said Pettis Patton forced her to resign.

“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. in the press release. “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.”

More coverage: Special Report: The Portsmouth Racial Divide

Related: Mayor says majority of council is ‘satisfied’ with city manager’s performance

The city says it’s hired GovHRUSA, an executive level recruiting firm, to help with the search for the next city manager. The firm has also worked with Chesapeake and Virginia Beach in recent city manager recruiting efforts.

Latest Posts:

This is a breaking story and will be updated.