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Portsmouth city leaders working together to find best candidate for City Manager position

"To emphasize the obvious, it is enormously important that the new City Council be comfortable its final candidate," Mayor John Rowe said.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — It has been a tumultuous year in Portsmouth with politics. Officials have been fired and leaders have struggled with legal trouble. Now there is an effort to smoothly bring in the new leaders.

On Monday night, for the first time, city leaders will meet with the agency looking to find the best person to fill the seat of Portsmouth City Manager.

“Someone with a vision. Someone that brings new ideas and innovation so that we are going to be able to bring those things to our community,” Mayor-elect Shannon Glover explained.

Glover said 74 people want to become Portsmouth’s next city manager. He and the new council will help narrow down that list. Current Mayor John Rowe says he wants them to take the lead when it comes to choosing the best candidate.

“If you think about it, we are moving forward and they have been elected by the citizens of Portsmouth to participate in the process and they need to be the ones that share the decision of choosing our next city manager," Glover said.

The members leaving at the end of the year will take a back seat during the meeting. Elizabeth Psimas is a council member leaving at the end of 2020.

“I do think it’s important that the new council members have a relationship and make the decision about a new manager and that the manager, he or she has a relationship that they are comfortable with their seven new bosses," Psimas explained.

Psimas said she doesn’t know if Glover and the new council will pick a candidate by the end of the year. She said, if they do select a candidate, there is already a plan in place.

“Nathan Clark, John Rowe, and I have agreed that if the new council were to find someone before December 31st that they want there, we will take the vote to do so,” she explained.

Psimas said they will vote to make sure the process doesn’t slow down. Glover said he’s ready to start the process.

“I’m optimistic that despite what we have to go through, that working together, we will ultimately choose the best choice to lead the city of Portsmouth," Glover explained.

The meeting is Monday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. Glover said it will be in closed session because it’s a personnel matter.