Recovery is not a matter of months, but years, Acting VB city manager says during update on mass shooting

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — While it may appear that some things are “back to normal” following the May 31st mass shooting, city leadership reminded Virginia Beach City Council Tuesday that they still have a long way to go.

Tuesday afternoon, acting city manager Tom Leahy gave a report to council on all things related to the deadly mass shooting that occurred in Building 2 at the Municipal Center.

On Tuesday, City Council learned the number of retirements in recent months has caused a shortage of workers.

In total, 71 employees have retired from departments housed in Building 2 since the start of 2019. That number doesn’t include other employees who have left for other reasons.

There is a 10- to 13-percent vacancy in departments housed by Building 2. That number is usually between 4 and 6 percent, Leahy said.

Leahy said those vacancies have made it harder to get things done on time, but the city is working to give employees the time they need.

For those that haven’t left, workflow has been nothing like it used to be. Public Works Director Mark Johnson said they are still grieving.

“And the Department of Justice has told us not to expect people to have all this in their rear view mirror in months,” Leahy said. “They’ve told us it will take years before many of our workforce will be able to look at this as a bad memory… About 10 percent may never actually recover from it.”

However, Leahy announced that staff is beginning to plan how it will mark one year since the tragedy occurred.

From May 29 through the 31, Leahy said the area should expect several events and remembrance ceremonies. The city will reach out to those who were most affected by the tragedy to figure out exactly how to plan those events.

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