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Petersburg city manager dismissed with cause in closed City Council meeting

Posted at 8:17 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 18:44:34-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg City Manager William Johnson was dismissed from his duties Thursday during a special closed City Council meeting, a Petersburg City Council member tells CBS 6. City Attorney Brian Telfair has been allowed to resign.

This comes after Petersburg City Council decided to work on separation agreements with the both Johnson and Telfair in February.

William Johnson

William Johnson

After a $3 million budget shortfall in 2015 and problems with water bills that residents have been experiencing for months, many residents called for the resignation of the city manager William Johnson.

The city's finances are now under investigation by the Auditor of Public Accounts in conjunction an investigation with Virginia State Police.

Johnson has been terminated with cause. Johnson's contact states if he is terminated with cause, he will not receive a severance payment.

Since Telfair was allowed to resign he will get three months severance.

Brian Telfair

Brian Telfair

For the next 60 days three Council Members will serve as the CEO's of the City. The Public Transit director Diana Belton will serve as the COO. She will work with the CEO's to come up with a plan to appoint a new City Manager.

Petersburg Mayor urges residents to pay water bills

During a press conference earlier Thursday afternoon, Petersburg Mayor W. Howard Myers urged residents to pay their water bills.

This comes after, CBS 6 reported that some Petersburg residents have not received a water bill from the city since fall of 2015. Others got bills that were hundreds of dollars higher than usual despite no change in their water usage.

“We can get through this, and we will with your help,” Mayor Meyers said. “But many of you are not paying your bills. I ask that you remain supportive of our efforts to do what is in your best interests in getting to the bottom of this water meter issue.”

Meyers said the water issue needs to be addressed and it will be by then City Attorney Brian Telfair.

“Your estimated bill reflects the use prior to the installation of these wireless meters,” he said. “I ask as your Mayor, you pay your bill as we make every effort to ensure the bill reflects your prior estimated usage.”

Related: Petersburg residents could pay over $115K to part ways with city manager and attorney