PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — City Manager Tonya Chapman is out with Portsmouth City Council’s first meeting of the year.
Councilman Bill Moody made a motion near the end of the City Council’s bi-annual reorganizational meeting on Tuesday to terminate Chapman for cause.
Moody said Chapman was “willfully engaging in conduct which is demonstratively injurious to the city monetarily or otherwise.”
The termination was approved by a 5-2 vote with Councilmen De’Andre Barnes and Mark Whitaker voting against.
In a statement to 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox, Chapman said the outcome was “expected.”
“Although statements made by some members of Council were inaccurate, the outcome was expected,” said Chapman. “I am grateful to City Council and the citizens of Portsmouth for the opportunity.”
Councilwoman Lisa Lucas Burke was also elected as Vice Mayor during the meeting.
Former Deputy City Manager Mimi Terry, who was fired by Chapman, was appointed interim city manager by the same vote. She will start immediately with a $ 210,000-a-year salary.
Chapman was sworn in as city manager in late June 2022. Portsmouth City Council abruptly voted to fire former City Manager Angel Jones a month prior.
After fights among council members, Chapman was ultimately chosen to fill the post, three years after she left her job as top cop of Portsmouth. Council voted 4-3 to approve Chapman’s $200,000 a year contract, in addition to a $10,000 a year car allowance.
At the time of swearing in, her contract stated that she will receive a $400,000 severance payment if she is fired without cause before her first year as city manager.
That severance amount will get cut in half if she is terminated after that date. 10 On Your Side has obtained an email that shows Chapman did not ask for that severance but rather asked for $200,000 if dismissed with or without cause. The $400,000 severance is more than the package included for the last four city managers combined.
Chapman, whose tenure with the city was fraught with challenges and controversy, resigned as chief in 2019 after three years of leading the force.
This is breaking news and will be updated.
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