Mayor: Savannah City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney to resign - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Mayor: City manager says she will resign

City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney

Mayor Edna Jackson said Wednesday afternoon that Rochelle Small-Toney told her she is resigning as Savannah's city manager.

But so far, there has been nothing submitted in writing.

A city spokesman told WTOC that there won't be an official resignation on Wednesday night. He said attorneys are involved and that the mayor and city manager have left the office for the day.

The terms of resignation are already in place in the city charter, with a two months severance if the city manager is fired and a six month severance if she resigns, whether at her own will or forced to resign.

While some within the city have begun rumblings of an audit, the question now is, what terms are being negotiated? Community leaders WTOC have spoken to Wednesday night worry a deal of immunity in case more issues are discovered after Small-Toney's departure may be in play.

There has been no word from either the city manager nor the mayor publicly since last Wednesday.

A rally was supposed to be held in Johnson Square in support of Small-Toney on Wednesday night. Several organizations including the A. Phillip Randolph Institute and the Savannah National Action Network coordinated the event, however, only a small number of supporters showed up.

Wednesday morning, a dozen supporters held a news conference in front of city hall and told WTOC a "reliable source" told them Small-Toney would be resigning by 5:00 PM Wednesday.

Small-Toney is Savannah's sixth city manager. She accepted the position in March 2011 and Savannah's first black and first female city manager.  

In September, the city was called out on paying vendors late, possibly blacklisting a local business on a bid for a project, and other issues involving the under-staffed city purchasing department.

Small-Toney came under fire a few weeks earlier for violating the city travel policy as well as  the hiring and firing of emergency management director Ben Johnson and was reprimanded and given within 90 days to turn things around. Council members tell WTOC 90 days was not a set in stone number and she would be reviewed on a daily basis.

Less than six weeks later, new issues surfaced involving the purchasing department, including numerous lawsuits, EOC complaints and at one point, a six million dollar backlog of unpaid vendor bills by the city, which cut that 90 days off and forced the mayor to ask the city manager to quit.

One year and six months on the job, and it all could come down to Thursday. 

A one hour public hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday will be followed by a possible City Council vote if the city manager, who has declined public comment, does not resign before then.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Savannah City Manager


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