PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Dozens of people gathered in front of Portsmouth City Hall Thursday to make a resounding call to not appoint former mayoral candidate and city councilman Danny Meeks to the open city manager position.
“I do not believe Danny Meeks is qualified for the position,” explained Max Greenhood.
Greenhood is a Portsmouth business owner and doesn’t believe the former council member and mayoral candidate is fit for the Portsmouth city manager position.
“Assume that someone being successful in business means they can then be successful leading a city, but in reality so much more is required of somebody for someone to successfully fill that role,” he explained.
Last week, Portsmouth city council members voted to confirm Meeks' appointment to the post -- a decision they abandoned moments after.
While some council members argued that Meeks had the experience and know-how necessary to take on the position, others weren't convinced.
Mayor Shannon Glover, who defeated Meeks in last year's mayoral election, asserted that the city has received more than 70 applications for the job and that Meeks had never applied. He also mentioned that city leaders spent $22,000 to hire a consulting firm to help out with their search.
Councilwoman Lisa Lucas-Burke called his qualifications into question and stated that he did not meet the benchmarks necessary to fill the role. Just 15 minutes after a 4-3 vote was made to hire Meeks, the entire council unanimously rejected the decision.
There are many residents around Portsmouth who want to keep it that way, declaring that Meeks isn't the right fit for the job.
“Danny Meeks don’t have the qualifications that’s the ground they are standing on, but the last 30-40 years everybody with these qualifications and the city still looks the same,” said Portsmouth resident Germain Green.
A Facebook event was created, calling on community members to meet in front of City Hall on Thursday for an assembly to demand that the city select someone who is more experienced.
Demonstrators were met with counterprotesters who refute the claim that Meeks isn't qualified and support his appointment to the role.
Green said, “I want somebody who is going to move this city into the future. I want to look like Norfolk. I want to be able to come down to the waterfront and wine and dine vs. yelling up and speaking with someone in jail. I don’t know nobody, I’m just saying.”
Portsmouth council members did extend the application deadline to January 20, which gave Meeks a chance to apply for the job.
A source with 13News Now confirmed Meeks did apply for the position earlier this week.
Mayor Shannon Glover said he and council members will meet with the consulting firm on Monday. He hopes to choose between two and three candidates and move the process forward. However, Glover said he worries some council members may pick Meeks again.