Back in 2015, the City of Richmond was a managerial mess. Accusations flew of incompetence, conflicts of interest and revolving chair style management. One big problem was the deeply flawed installation of a financial computer system crucial to keeping the municipality functioning.
Then-Mayor Dwight Jones’s solution was to hire a ringer, Selena Cuffee-Glenn, who had earned a reputation for efficiency and competence as Suffolk’s city manager. She had a pair of degrees from the University of Virginia and a personable manner. When Levar Stoney succeeded Jones as mayor in 2017, he kept Cuffee-Glenn as the city’s chief administrative officer.
Then, reports circulated that relatives of Cuffee-Glenn seemed to be getting prize positions. Her daughter got a job at the city’s human resources department. A niece didn’t even have to formally apply for her $70,000 a year position.
An Inspector General’s report showed that as many as six Cuffee-Glenn relatives were working in some city capacity. On Sept. 18, Stoney fired her.
She says that her hiring policies did not violate any rules. She says she had no role in helping relatives get jobs. Her husband, for example, works for the city Sheriff’s Department, which she does not oversee. On the other hand, one relative got a Public Utilities job at a higher than average hourly rate.
Cuffee-Glenn may be innocent but the hiring of six relatives seems unusual. The truly sad news for Richmond is that it can’t seem to shake its reputation for malfeasance. While parts of the city, such as Scott’s Addition and Manchester, are undergoing a renaissance, the city is still stuck with under-performing schools and a poverty rate of more than 25 percent, twice the national average.
Stoney has been seen as an up-and-coming African-American politician with a strong political future. He has survived battles over city tax rate increases and a controversial, $1.5 billion plan to build a new coliseum along with offices, apartments, stores and restaurants north of downtown Broad Street. One of Cuffee-Glenn’s biggest assignments was overseeing the city’s role in that project.
Richmond’s problems, however, may be too deep for Stoney or anyone else to solve anytime soon.There are currently no comments highlighted.