PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Mayor Shannon Glover said he has apologized to the superintendent of Portsmouth Public Schools for not checking with him before he attempted to take out charges against two of his fellow council members.
Glover told 10 On Your Side he spoke with Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy on Friday and assured him he did not mean to drag the school division into the latest chapter of Portsmouth political drama.
In a copy of the notes, Glover took to a magistrate on May 31, alleging Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes and Councilman Mark Whitaker both violated Portsmouth’s charter when they both “negotiated” and met with Bracy over different issues.
Glover alleged Whitaker violated the city manager’s authority when he discussed and negotiated a grant with Bracy and other school employees. Glover alleged Barnes held negotiations directly with Bracy to use school facilities for his youth sports programs.
Glover claimed these actions violated the city charter provision that calls for the removal from office of a council person criminally convicted of interfering with the job of a subordinate of the city manager.
However, the chief magistrate for the region — Ryan McLaughlin — declined to file charges. He wrote that Glover “provided no evidence to establish that the Superintendent of Schools or school employees are subordinates of the city manager.”
Friday in his conversation, Bracy said he never met with Barnes to talk about the use of school facilities.
“I dropped the ball and didn’t call Dr. Bracy to confirm,” Glover said, adding that someone else had “told him” the meeting occurred.
When asked why he would seek charges for the council members without confirming all the facts, Glover responded: “I wanted to ensure city resources were being used as they should be.”
Glover maintained he was not apologizing to Barnes or Whitaker, and only Bracy. He said he is elevating his concerns to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office for a possible investigation.
Portsmouth has a long history of messy politics with racial tensions mixed with personal vendettas, leading to many lawsuits and court battles.
Glover initially went to seek the charges against Barnes and Whitaker a week after the two were a part of the majority vote to terminate former City Manager Angel Jones. Glover voted against the move. He also voted against the appointment of her replacement, former Police Chief Tonya Chapman.
Glover is not the only one to be hurling allegations of wrongdoing in the last few weeks.
In a statement read Thursday, Whitaker said he was told by Jones when she was still city manager, that Glover directed her to have the Economic Development Authority transfer land at 700 Crawford Parkway to the Breedan Companies, even after City Council voted down a rezoning request.
“I did not ask the city manager to transfer the land, no,” Glover said.
I’m happy to see that the truth about our Mayor has come to light, but I’m saddened to see that the lies from him continue to take place. The political games have to stop and it’s time to stop putting ourselves first, and put the citizens first. Mayor Glover doesn’t want to build relationships among council, he wants division so he can play in the hearts and minds of vulnerable citizens. The lies that he continues to spread about certain council members have created a division in our city, forcing both group of supporters to pick a side when we should only be picking Portsmouth. Not only has he created a division among council, but now it has spread to our school board. I would like to personally apologize to our school system, and my only hope is that it doesn’t stop the progress and hurt the relationship that we have built since this council has been in office.Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes, Portsmouth
Mayor Glover has criminally implicated with false and misleading information the Superintendent of Portsmouth Public Schools, Vice-Mayor Deandre Barnes and Councilman Dr. Mark Whitaker. Such behavior is reprehensible and is another attempt to use the criminal Justice system to attack Black leadership and progress.Councilman Mark Whitaker, Portsmouth