The spokeswoman for Rocky Mount’s municipal government has given her notice of resignation, saying she is leaving the Twin Counties to take a position as a spokeswoman in the Delmarva region.
Tameka Kenan-Norman told the Telegram in an email earlier on Monday that Oct. 23 will be her last day at City Hall.
“I have enjoyed my time at the city of Rocky Mount,” Kenan-Norman said.
Kenan-Norman said no decision has yet been made about who will serve as interim spokesperson for the municipal government.
Kenan-Norman said her husband, Raheen Norman, recently moved to the Salisbury, Md., area for a better career opportunity.
Kenan-Norman said she accepted a position as a chief development and communications officer at an agency in Salisbury.
She said because she has not yet started work at that agency, she would rather not provide the name of the agency at this time.
She is leaving after serving more than 7½ years at City Hall.
She reported for work in 2012 as the city’s public affairs manager before she was reclassified in 2017 as the city’s chief communications and marketing officer.
She has been receiving a salary of slightly more than $97,000.
In her email on Monday, she expressed thanks to then-City Manager Charles Penny for providing her with the opportunity to work for the municipal government.
Additionally, she expressed thanks to current City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney “for always placing a high value on communications and encouraging innovative initiatives; and the Rocky Mount City Council for their continuous support.”
“I have also thoroughly enjoyed working with my colleagues and the citizens of Rocky Mount,” she said.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, Small-Toney, in her community update, announced Kenan-Norman’s notice of resignation, saying, “This is a rather bittersweet moment for me personally as city manager.”
Small-Toney praised Kenan-Norman extensively and also noted the city’s Communications and Marketing Department, which started with Kenan-Norman and a second staffer, has grown to a staff of four.
Small-Toney read aloud a detailed list of accomplishments by the department and also noted the department has received 16 awards from the N.C. City and County Communications Association since 2012.
Kenan-Norman, who received a standing ovation at the council meeting, said, “Rocky Mount is now home to me, so thank you. The only reason I’m leaving is because of my husband, but I love it here.
“And I thank you so much. I can’t say that enough,” Kenan-Norman said.
Small-Toney drew laughs when she quipped she offered to try to get Kenan-Norman another husband.
Mayor David Combs told Kenan-Norman, “We appreciate you, Tameka, and we’re going to miss you.”
Kenan-Norman, however, is departing City Hall at a time of controversy.
The Telegram earlier this year published stories about alleged cronyism and malfeasance under Small-Toney, who came to Rocky Mount in 2017 after a stint as a deputy city manager in Fayetteville.
That stint in Fayetteville came after Small-Toney resigned as city manager in Savannah, Ga., in 2012 amid reports about questions about hiring and spending practices.
And in Rocky Mount, with Small-Toney as manager, the municipal government has a strict protocol about journalists’ access to news-related information. Specifically, the Telegram’s questions about municipal business have to be submitted in advance to the Communications and Marketing Department.
Kenan-Norman, with her upcoming departure from Rocky Mount, will be closing the book on a career in broadcast journalism and public relations in the Carolinas.
Kenan-Norman grew up in Wallace, which is north of Wilmington, and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech from Fayetteville State University.
While she was a university student, Kenan-Norman worked as a morning show co-host for Beasley Broadcasting and wrote human interest stories for The Fayetteville Observer.
After graduating from Fayetteville State, she earned a master’s degree in communications from UNC-Greensboro.
She went on to work as music director for Entercom Communications in Greensboro before going on to work as music director for Citadel Broadcasting in South Carolina.
Prior to arriving in Rocky Mount, she worked as an assistant director of university relations and marketing at South Carolina State University.