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EXCLUSIVE: Portsmouth's new city manager tells us her vision for the city

Angel Jones said she doesn't call anything a challenge, she calls it an opportunity.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The new city manager of Portsmouth is coming to the position with a fresh set of eyes and a sense of optimism.

“While one may see a challenge, I see an opportunity,” explained Angel Jones.

Jones was hired for the job in March, however, her first day on the job was last Monday. She beat out more than 70 people for the position.

Jones left her job as a senior consultant at a management firm. She previously worked as a city manager in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and in Eugene, Oregon.

“I love it here. I love it here. It’s been very welcoming,” she explained.

This comes as the city has seen major controversy and a big turnover in leadership in the past year. Jones said: bring it on Portsmouth.

“There are things that need to get done but I have a can-do attitude. I am going to do the very best of my ability to make it happen,” Jones said.

She said she wants to first focus on the city's financial stability, economic development and work on bringing more police officers to the streets of Portsmouth.

“I see opportunities to challenge the staff to do new and innovative things,” explained Jones. “I see opportunities to work with the mayor and council and get things done.”

Jones said she already started an assessment internally and externally. The focus is on the priorities of the community. She promised, everyone will have a seat at the table.

“I see opportunities to maximize our resources. I see opportunities to strengthen the businesses that are here and encourage new businesses to come,” Jones explained.

One of those new big businesses is the casino. She said it will provide a lot of opportunities but it also has to be managed in an appropriate way to ensure that the benefit outweighs the cost.

She said, “I will be working with all the teams to do that and I’m excited about that possibility.”

As for the Portsmouth Police Department, Jones admits a shortage of police officers is affecting the city. She plans to meet with the existing staff to see what is working and what is not working, in hopes to improve and add more officers to the force.

“Given that, my first step would be to put in leadership that understands the uniqueness of this community.”

She said as a part of that leadership, she would make sure the salaries are comparable and favorable. Jones said there would also be training for new and existing hires to make sure they are prepared to do their jobs.

“Share the successes as we continue to work on the things that need to be improved but not let those be our story," Jones said. "Let our story be the things that we are achieving.”

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