Hundreds pack Rocky Mount meeting as controversy surrounds city manager

Local News
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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — Rocky Mount City Hall would normally be closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but controversy surrounding the city manager caused city leaders to go into a special session meeting.

Hundreds of people sat in the city council chambers waiting for a decision on the fate of city manager Rochelle Small-Toney.

When the council came back from their closed session after a couple of hours, they said they had no comment, but they will discuss the matter again at their meeting next Monday.

“She’s dropped the ball and I don’t want her to come to any harm, but she can’t stay,” said resident Stepheny Houghtlin.

A lot of people want to see Small-Toney fired for what they’re calling “mismanagement” on her part. 

Mayor David Combs said the city takes all matters that come before the council seriously, but since it is a confidential personnel matter, it will be discussed privately.

Small-Toney is being accused of mismanagement after hiring a friend for a city position.

 CBS 17 is told, that friend, Landis Faulcon was hired in January 2018 to run the department of community and business development. According to reports, Faulcon still lives in Virginia.

The city says they usually give employees six months to a year to relocate, but the city manager can give employees more time.

“We think it’s time to hold city hall accountable,” said resident Clark Covolo.

Local media reports claim Faulcon made mistakes on a housing project last year that cost taxpayers $182,000. The reports say Faulcon did not fill out the paperwork needed to secure federal funding for the construction of eight housing units.

“It’s gotten to the point now where we’ve decided to tolerate too much, something’s gotta change,” said Covolo.

Another claim is that Small-Toney spent nearly $90,000 to renovate her office.

“I also don’t appreciate her using city funds to renovate the manager’s office without council approval first,” said Covolo.

Small-Toney worked as city manager in Savannah, Georgia, but resigned after accusations of hiring an inexperienced job candidate and mishandling finances. 

“I attend church with Rochelle and I’ve spent time with her and I am actually heartsick about this in a way because she came here with a black cloud and I wanted her to redeem herself,” said Hoghtlin.

The city manager was not at the meeting and could not be reached for comment. The council will discuss the topic again at their meeting next Monday.

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