Council delays decision on city manager


City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney


Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Rocky Mount City Council made no decision in a meeting on Martin Luther King Day to discuss the future of its top administrator.

City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney, who wasn't at the meeting, faces mounting allegations of cronyism and financial mismanagement similar to accusations leveled against her in other cities, including Savannah, Ga., where she was ousted in 2012.

Mayor David Combs told a packed house Monday that no decision was made during a two-and-a-half hour closed session. He said the council will pick up the discussion at a meeting next week.

Combs said the council is taking the matter seriously as evident by them meeting on a holiday.

Actions of Small-Toney previously reported in the Telegram include:

■ Small-Toney hired her friend Landis Faulcon in January 2018 to run the Community and Business Development Department. Faulcon, who still lives in Virginia, cost city taxpayers $182,000 by failing to maintain paperwork needed to obtain federal funding for a housing project. The cost of the project had to be paid out of the city's general fund.

■ The city had to pay a former employee $40,000 to settle a discrimination claim and potential lawsuit. The employee was one of five pushed out of her department by Faulcon.

■ Small-Toney hired her friend Elton Daniels with no apparent parks experience to serve as the city's parks and recreation director. He was given a $130,000 salary, the high end of the pay scale for that position, and $40,000 more than the previous director.

■ Small-Toney is having her office suite remodeled at a cost of $89,600. City officials claimed Saturday the work was being done due to mold, but backed off that statement Sunday.

On Saturday, city officials stated:

"The improvements being done to this area are the result of mold in the ceiling tiles, leakage from the roof, wallpaper coming down and other issues that arise in any facility."

The city on Sunday issued the following statement about the renovations:

"Current renovations to the city manager’s suite also include the removal of fungi resulting from an old HVAC condensation leak. While previously noted as mold, 'the substance was actually suspected to be mildew; however, that was not confirmed because the area was not tested,' according to Michael Baughn, property and risk division manager. The substance, however, was so severe, the spot was removed in order to repair the drywall. All offices had also received some damage due to leakage from the roof and the HVAC."