City works to improve morale


Staff Writer

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Rocky Mount's top administrator is meeting with the city's middle management to address low morale.

In a review summary presented last month, the law firm Nexsen Pruet found no wrongdoing on behalf of City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney. The independent auditors did find low morale among the city's mid-level employees.

"Mid-level managers have stated they feel excluded and uninformed," according to a flyer emailed to employees Wednesday afternoon and shared with the Telegram by an employee who asked to remain anonymous.

Attendees will be able to discuss their concerns, priorities and more, according to the flyer.

"Managers are encouraged to have an open and honest conversation with the city manager only," the flyer states. "Assistant city managers and department heads will not be in attendance."

Attendees will be randomly selected by Tanika Cooper, executive assistant to the city manager, from a list of all mid-level managers. If selected, attendance is mandatory.

Department heads will also receive a notice of who has been selected.

Lunch will be provided during the meetings, which are similar to meetings — called Table Talks — Small-Toney held with rank and file employees last year. Those meetings were voluntary.

Lawyers interviewed more than 60 people over 150 hours including several employees to determine that city employee morale is split. Lower level employees feel included. Middle level employees feel excluded and disconnected. And senior management is mixed, slightly leaning toward low morale.

Small-Toney hasn't terminated any employees and no evidence of racial bias could be found in her hiring practices, according to the review, which determined she hasn't exceeded her authority.

The mandatory meetings, set to begin June 12, will be held bi-weekly from noon to 2 p.m. in the Booker T. Theater on East Thomas Street in downtown Rocky Mount.

The flyer provides a phone number for more information: 252-972-1325.