PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover tried to remove Councilman Mark Whitaker from the council meeting Tuesday night.
“Sir, I will not need you to tell me to get in order. I have the gavel, and you are out of order. Please have him removed from the chamber. You are out of order,” Glover said pounding the gavel.
Whitaker would challenge it saying that it would take a majority of council voting to uphold that. Since Whitaker usually sides with 4 of 7 votes on council, he was not removed from the council meeting.
That 4 of 7 votes is the same margin that appointed former Police Chief Tonya Chapman to be the new City Manager and residents watching expressed their opinions.
The crowd could be heard in the council chamber as council struggled to maintain order.
Whitaker led the four-vote majority and critics argue they did an end-run around the inclusion of the Mayor and council members Lisa Lucas Burke and Bill Moody.
“The mayor should be involved in the negotiations of hiring anyone to lead our city,” said Glover.
Mayor Glover says he and the two others found out about this vote in a closed meeting right before council met.
“When we had a meeting to discuss the city manager position, we discussed everything that is talked about in this meeting right now, we discussed in the closed meeting,” said Vice-Mayor De’Andre Barnes.
Barnes and Whitaker teamed up with Councilmembers Paul Battle and Chris Woodard to fire without cause Angel Jones late May and to hire former Police Chief Tonya Chapman.
Barnes and Whitaker are now both facing a possible recall by voters in part because of these actions involving the city manager.
“To move forward, we have got to regroup and come together, and lead the city in the direction the majority of our citizens want the city to go,” said Mayor Glover after the meeting.
“It’s not any hostility or hate, and I can work with any of them up there,” said Whitaker answering the Mayor’s claim he’s hostile.
For those on the receiving end, not so fast. Councilman Bill Moody disagrees with that.
“I do not know what is in his heart on the hate end of things, but the hostility is quite evident. This mayor has been disrespected by the four.”
Councilman Moody also points to two rusty water towers which appear symbolic of Portsmouth City Council’s inability to work together.
“We have two water tanks that are in shameful condition, and as of yet, the four have not joined with the three of us that we want those towers painted. I mean for God’s sakes they have our logos on them.”