Mayor fires top administrator in light of family hirings
Mayor Levar Stoney fired Selena Cuffee-Glenn, Richmond’s chief administrative officer since 2015, in response to a report Wednesday from the city’s inspector general’s office that revealed that six of her relatives had been hired by the city, five of those this year in departments she oversaw.
The report from Inspector General James Osuna said an investigation found that one of those relatives – Cuffee-Glenn’s daughter – was given a higher salary because of the relation, which was known to department heads at the time of her hire. The report concluded that while no evidence was found that Cuffee-Glenn had any direct involvement, department heads “felt obligated to approve” the daughter’s salary “at a higher level in terms of compensation due to the relationship of (Cuffee-Glenn).”
In a statement, Stoney said he was “both concerned and deeply disappointed” by the investigation’s findings.
“In my opinion, the conduct detailed in this report erodes the public trust, violates the spirit of good governance and has diminished my confidence in the CAO to continue to serve in her role,” the statement said, adding that Lenora Reid, deputy chief administrative officer for Finance and Administration, will serve as interim CAO until City Council approves an acting CAO.
Attempts to reach Cuffee-Glenn for comment were unsuccessful.
Navy Hill work sessions start today
Richmond City Council has scheduled a series of work sessions, the first of which will be held today, to review the Navy Hill development proposal. All sessions are to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in council chambers. Additional sessions are scheduled Oct. 7, 14 and 28; Nov. 4, 12 (Tuesday) and 25; and Dec. 2 and 9.
Chesterfield names new deputy administrator
Jesse Smith was named as Chesterfield County’s new deputy county administrator for community development. Currently the county’s transportation director, Smith will oversee daily operations of multiple county departments and programs, including building inspection, community enhancement, environmental engineering, planning, transportation and utilities.
Smith is expected to be appointed at the supervisors’ Sept. 25 meeting and will begin his new role effective Oct. 1. A Virginia Tech graduate and lifelong resident of Chesterfield, Smith has worked for the county since 2002, involved in such efforts as securing funding to improve the Ettrick Train Station and the implementation of the revised cash proffer policy in 2016.
$70M bond issuance sought for Henrico apartments
Henrico supervisors meet in regular session at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Full agenda here.
Public hearing items include approval of a $70 million bond issuance by the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the 496-unit St. Luke Apartments near Laburnum Avenue and Meadowbridge Road. St. Luke Apartments LLC, tied to real estate firm SAA|EVI, plans to purchase the property and spend about $40,000 per unit on improvements.
The approval is required because Henrico does not have a redevelopment and housing authority. Other apartment rehabs in the county have been funded with bonds issued by the Suffolk authority.
Land trust finishes first Chesterfield home
Maggie Walker Community Land Trust completed a rehab and sale of its first residence in Chesterfield County to an income-eligible homebuyer. The land trust purchased the single-family house at 5616 S. Melbeck Road last December.
Last year, the land trust was awarded $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding from the county for the project. Terms of the grant stipulate that the trust retains ownership of the land beneath properties it rehabs, then leases that land to the homeowner to reduce costs to the homebuyer while ensuring that the house remains “affordable” in perpetuity.
The land trust plans to sell an additional eight houses in the county using the model and the grant allocation by next June.
Henrico buying 1,200-acre Wilton Farm from HHHunt
Henrico officials announced Thursday that the county will purchase Wilton Farm – a nearly 1,200-acre property filling a curve in the James River just south of Pocahontas Parkway – for $10 million from HHHunt, which had approval to develop an urban mixed-use development totaling 3,209 residential units.
HHHunt had purchased the land – a wheat and tobacco farm dating to the mid-1700s – in 2005 for $18 million. A county assessment most recently valued the property at $10.6 million.
Plans for the property include a county museum, future elementary and middle school sites in proximity to Osborne Turnpike, and economic development sites on both sides of Pocahontas Parkway. The bulk of the land, which includes two sizable lakes and nearly three miles of river frontage, would be preserved as parks and for recreational use.
Carvana, solar data center projects up for deciding votes
Chesterfield supervisors meet in regular session at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Business on the agenda includes the proposed Carvana distribution facility near Chester and the solar farm-data center that Torch Clean Energy is pitching for the former Matoaca Mega Site. The Planning Commission voted last month to recommend approval of both projects. Full agenda here.