City manager keeps job, pending trial, following assault arrest

Posted at 12:11 PM, Feb 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-24 15:32:51-05

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - The Petersburg City Council met Friday morning to discuss the future of City Manager William Johnson III.

Police arrested Johnson on charges of misdemeanor assault and battery stemming from a weekend fight with his wife, according to a criminal complaint filed in Petersburg Juvenile and Domestic Court. [Read More]

Around 10:00 a.m., council decided Johnson would remain on the job as city manager pending the outcome of his trial.

"Citizens need to realize we will take the long course," said Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore.  "We understand the allegations, but we are going to do what's best for the city."

Moore admits it was not a unanimous decision from council for Johnson to remain as manager.

"We are not the judge and jury," said Moore.

Johnson's wife, Gloria Wright Johnson, who reported her husband punched her in the nose, punched her in the stomach, slammed her head on the floor and shook her, was hand-in-hand with him Friday morning.

Johnson did not talk after the council meeting Friday morning; instead his lawyer, Arnold Henderson, spoke on behalf of his client.

"Obviously it's in the city councils opinion that it's in the best interest of the city and the residents for Mr. Johnson to continue in his capacity, and we are pleased with that," said Henderson.  "He will work to move forward."

In an unsigned statement released Tuesday afternoon by City of Petersburg communication department read, "Petersburg City Council is aware of the situation facing City Manager William Johnson, but Council has not met to discuss the issue. Until such time as City Council does meet, Mr. Johnson will continue to work as City Manager of Petersburg. The matter has been referred to Petersburg’s Acting City Attorney, William Hefty."