PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Ahead of a contentious city council meeting in Portsmouth, a small but loud group of about 15 citizens met outside to voice their concerns over the new city manager, and the controversy surrounding her hiring.
Tonya Chapman sat in the city manager’s seat for the first time Tuesday night. She faced a full room of citizens, some happy to see her, many still upset with how she got there.
"The city manager herself was hired under the most strange and inexplicable standards that I have ever seen in this city," said one citizen.
The former police chief was voted in with a 4-3 vote after former City Manager Angel Jones was fired with that same 4-3 vote.
RELATED: 13News Now Investigates: Portsmouth suffers rising crime as city cuts ties with another police chief
Less than a week into the job, Chapman fired former Police Chief Renado Prince, citing a personnel matter. He’d been on the job for 10 months.
Prince told 13News Now it was over a text message—a fact that didn’t sit well with some citizens.
RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Ousted Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince says firing stemmed from text message
"Stop hiding behind the disguise of a personnel matter," one woman told the council members and city manager. "We are losing competent, dedicated people because of jealousy, greed and a hunger for power."
Over the last few weeks, citizens have brought up the fact that Chapman does not have prior experience as a city manager.
"Hiring the wrong person or the trainee for the person for the job, you are creating a Pandora's box. When the box is open, you can't put it back," one citizen said.
RELATED: 'You have failed' | Angry Portsmouth citizens speak out against city council after two dramatic meetings
13News Now attempted to ask Chapman why she fired Prince and what she makes of the comments regarding her not having prior experience as a city manager, but she exited through a back door immediately following the meeting.
Chapman announced last week via press release she will hold a press conference Thursday morning to “present information about herself and future initiatives for the City of Portsmouth.”