Cuffee-Glenn hopes to touch Suffolk lives

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Selena Cuffee-Glenn doesn't believe in sitting behind a desk.

On the job for less than a month, Suffolk's new assistant city manager of development has juggled her time between the office and visits throughout the rest of the city.

"I don't believe in waiting," said Cuffee-Glenn. "I've taken it upon myself to get out and meet with my teams…and meet people in the community."

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People are at the heart of her job, said Cuffee-Glenn, who comes to Suffolk by way of Richmond.

The Chesapeake native is the former director of planning and community development for the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. She also spent 17 years working for the city of Richmond's housing and neighborhood preservation division.

Cuffee-Glenn is overseeing the activities of the departments of economic development, planning, tourism, downtown development, neighborhood development services and public utilities.

Her position had been vacant since City Manager R. Steven Herbert, who formerly held the post, was named city manager in January 2003.

Cuffee-Glenn, who has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Virginia, will prove to be a valuable asset for the city, said Mayor Bobby L. Ralph

"Selena brings to us a great deal of experience with innovative projects and economic development," said Ralph. "With the Fairgrounds coming on board, her experience in housing is particularly important to us.

"I'm glad to see the position filled by someone with her background,…someone who can help us with some live projects that are under way."

Councilman Charles F. Brown, who has aggressively pushed the city to put more minorities into management positions, also praised the hiring of Cuffee-Glenn.

"Some people say it is difficult to find well qualified minorities for these positions," Brown said. "I beg to differ. If you look at Selena's application, I think it's obvious she has all the credentials that made her the best candidate for the position.

"This shows we can have a diverse city and that everyone in these positions can be well qualified," he said. "She is a good fit for the city.

"She will definitely make our city stronger because she brings different views to the table."

Cuffee-Glenn, said she has always wanted to help mold communities.

"Even as a child, I wanted to make a difference in people's lives," Cuffee-Glenn said. "I fell in love with planning.

"Planning gives you the ability to shape communities and…touch the lives of the people who live in those communities."

Since joining the city's administration on June 13, Cuffee-Glenn has attended the groundbreaking for the new Creekside Elementary School.

She went to the grand opening of Liberty Property's new 130,000-square-foot warehouse in Bridgeway Commerce Park.

She's visited the city's villages, chatted with residents and met with her employees.

Cuffee-Glenn said she is particularly impressed by the level of communication between Suffolk residents and government.

"The public participation in the process is astounding," she said, referring to the number of public meetings for citizens to offer input onto various plans proposed for the city's future.

"We can't have development without good communication."

Cuffee-Glenn said she is looking forward to the challenge of helping Suffolk—the fastest growing city in the state—move forward.

"Anybody in this profession would want to be a part of this movement," said Cuffee-Glenn.

"You can't help but get excited.

"People say the words all the time but it really is a great time to be in Suffolk."

Cuffee-Glenn and her husband, Keith, a Richmond firefighter, will be moving to Suffolk in the coming months. They

have a daughter, 8-year-old Alexis.