NORFOLK - Nearly a dozen public officials continue to serve on various corporate and community boards at TowneBank, even in the wake of Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms' resignation from his job as a bank executive.
Sessoms announced his resignation Tuesday. He cited a change in the bank's policy prohibiting bank executives from serving in elected office.
The policy change--and Sessoms' resignation--comes in the midst of an investigation into whether or not Sessoms broke state conflict of interest laws by voting on city council matters involving bank clients.
Prior to his resignation on Tuesday, Sessoms worked as the president of Towne Financial Services.
On Wednesday, a bank spokesman told 13News Now that the new policy does not apply to members of its boards.
"TowneBank takes this matter very seriously and has confidence that all its board members and employees will always act with integrity in their personal and professional roles," a spokesman said in a statement.
Two local mayors--Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson--already resigned from their respective TowneBank boards in November.
At the time, Fraim said he wanted to avoid the possibility of a conflict of interest.
But ten pulblic officials still remain on the bank's community and corporate boards.
Chesapeake Sheriff Jim O'Sullivan serves on the bank's Chesapeake board. Virginia State Delegate Johnny Joannou and State Senator Louise Lucan serve on the Portsmouth board.
On the peninsula, State Senator Mamie Locke serves on the bank's community board.
Virginia Beach Circuit Court Clerk Tina Sinnen, Sheriff Ken Stolle and Delegate Ron Villaneuva all serve on TowneBank's Virginia Beach board.
Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment serves on both the bank's corporate board and its Williamsburg board.
North Carolina State Representative Paul Tine serves on the Dare County community board and State Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne serves on the board of Towne Financial Services.
Norment said he has no plans to resign from the banks boards on which he serves.
I have consciously reflected on my continued service on the Townebank boards and it is my intention to remain on those boards as part of my continued civic engagement," Norment said. "Currently, as a state senator I am not called upon to vote on any specific local land use issues or rezonings that may have business ties or implications to Townebank. I do not believe that I have any conflict of interest, perceptually or otherwise. "
Similarly, Representative Paul Tine said the North Carolina House has an ethics staff that helps him avoid potential conflicts of interest.
"I enjoy my work with Townebank and, as the proper ethical oversights are in place in North Carolina, I do not plan to resign from the board," Tine said.
A spokesman for TowneBank said the bank's leadership continues to evaluate its policies related to elected officials serving on boards and will update them as necessasry.