Natasha Hampton, who was an assistant city manager in Rocky Mount, is going to become the next city manager in College Park, Md.
The news of Hampton being hired to her future position came on Tuesday during a meeting of the College Park City Council. Hampton will start as city manager in College Park on June 1.
College Park, which has a population of more than 32,100, is along the U.S. 1 corridor and extends from inside to just outside the Interstate 495 beltway that encircles the Washington, D.C., area. College Park also is home of the University of Maryland.
College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, in a news release issued Tuesday by the City of College Park, said the municipality is excited to bring Hampton aboard.
“She is a highly regarded leader with a wealth of knowledge and passion for local government,” Wojahn said.
Hampton, in the news release, said she is grateful to Wojahn and the College Park City Council “for the opportunity to join the dynamic City of College Park and I look forward to working collaboratively with council, staff, residents and the business community.”
In a posting on her Facebook page, Hampton said, “The Most High GOD did a thing! Honored to be selected as the City of College Park, Maryland’s first woman and first person of color to serve as City Manager!”
Hampton added she is looking forward to this new chapter.
The Telegram on Wednesday was unable to reach Hampton via her Facebook email.
Hampton is going to be filling a position Assistant City Manager Bill Gardiner has held on an interim basis because the previous city manager, Scott Sowers, resigned in December to go work for a nonprofit organization in Arizona.
According to information provided to the Telegram by City of College Park Communications and Events Manager Ryna Luckert Quiñones, the Baker Tilly firm conducted a nationwide search for a new city manager and there were about 60 applicants. Interviews were conducted in March and April by the firm, Wojahn and the city council via teleconferencing and in person, Quiñones said. Hampton was chosen from a list of semifinalists.
Hampton will be the top day-to-day executive of a municipal government with about 110 employees, Quiñones said.
How much Hampton will be paid was not immediately available on Wednesday because Quiñones said that under Maryland law, the compensation of a municipal employee can only be provided in accordance with filing a request under the Maryland Public Information Act.
Quiñones did tell the Telegram that Hampton signed a contract with open-ended terms.
Hampton reported for work in Rocky Mount in May 2018 after being hired by City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney.
Hampton, a Miami native, had for about a decade worked for the municipal government in Miramar, Fla., in the Miami area, more recently for about a year as an assistant city manager and for a few years prior as the chief marketing officer.
Additionally, Hampton is an author and an advocate for the advancement of women and has her own website.
College Park Mayor Pro Tem Monroe Dennis said in the City of College Park’s news release on Tuesday that Hampton’s excellent references and prominent voice on significant leadership issues were important factors in her being selected by the College Park City Council.
“The council looks forward to her applying this knowledge to advance the City of College Park,” Dennis said.
The hiring of Hampton in College Park came after much scuttlebutt circulating in Rocky Mount via Facebook about her status and future at Rocky Mount City Hall.
The Telegram, in a story published at the start of November, said Hampton had been one of three finalists for the city manager position in Lakeland, Fla., but was not hired.
Hampton on Wednesday remained listed on the City of Rocky Mount’s website as one of two assistant city managers, with the other being Elton Daniels.
A list of the salaries of the top City of Rocky Mount officials, obtained by the Telegram on March 3, showed Daniels and Hampton each receiving $161,975 a year in base pay. The list showed Small-Toney receiving $191,100 a year in base pay.
Meanwhile, rumors have been circulating in Rocky Mount via Facebook, including that Hampton filed a lawsuit against the City of Rocky Mount or that a financial settlement was going to be agreed to or had been agreed to. The Telegram from time to time checked the federal court system’s website and the computer terminal listing of civil cases at the Nash County Courthouse and did not see a listing for a lawsuit filed by Hampton.
Rumors also have been circulating in Rocky Mount via Facebook that Hampton returned to Florida yet remains on the City of Rocky Mount’s payroll.
The Telegram on Wednesday emailed Small-Toney seeking clarity or a response. Small-Toney, in a brief reply, told the Telegram that what the newspaper was requesting is personnel information, but she told the Telegram that Hampton resigned.
The Telegram, in a follow-up email, asked Small-Toney whether she could provide the date of Hampton’s resignation or what date Hampton submitted the resignation. Small-Toney said she could not and that her response to the first email was what she could share at this time.
Hampton’s resignation is not the first one by a top City of Rocky Mount official to have surfaced in 2021.
The Telegram, in a story published on March 14, said Feb. 12 was the last day at City Hall for Cynthia Jones, who had been serving as community and business development director since February 2020. Peter Varney, who is a former assistant city manager, on Feb. 15 began serving as the leader of the community and business development department on a temporary basis.