Former city manager fired in Richmond

Published 10:17 pm Friday, September 20, 2019

A former Suffolk city manager was fired from her job in Richmond last week over accusations of nepotism.

Selena Cuffee-Glenn left Suffolk’s city manager position in 2015 to take the job of chief administrative officer in Richmond. On Wednesday, she lost that job when Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney fired her, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report.

A report by the city’s inspector general, an official hired to investigate suspected waste, fraud and abuse, found that the city had five of Cuffee-Glenn’s relatives — including her daughter — on its payroll, the Times-Dispatch reported.

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The other four relatives included a niece, two second cousins and the spouse of one of the cousins, the report states. Cuffee-Glenn’s spouse was working as a Sheriff’s Office deputy, but that department does not report to Cuffee-Glenn.

Cuffee-Glenn’s 22-year-old daughter was hired in March, according to the inspector general’s report. She started working for the Department of Public Utilities at a salary of $26.44 an hour. The person she replaced made $18 an hour, the report stated, and she was making more than all but two other city employees with the same title. The report states the interim Human Resources director initially balked at approving the salary but then did so later the same day.

All of the relatives were initially hired in a provisional role, which allows city departments to fill essential vacancies quickly. The positions can become permanent hires after 90 days if administrators sign off on it.

The inspector general’s report states Cuffee-Glenn voluntarily agreed to be interviewed for the report. It states Cuffee-Glenn said she did not want her daughter working for the city and was not aware she was hired until she received an offer letter. She also stated she was not directly involved in the hiring of any of the family members.

The report found the allegations partially substantiated, because supervisors felt obligated to approve the high salary “due to the relationship” to Cuffee-Glenn.

In a statement to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cuffee-Glenn said she had done nothing unethical.

“I stand by my record of service and by the fact that I have done nothing unethical,” the paper reported she said. “Although I have no choice but to recognize the mayor’s decision, I am saddened that I will not be able to continue the good work that I and the thousands of other wonderful employees of the city have begun to make Richmond the city we all deserve.”

Stoney’s office did not return a Thursday call from the Suffolk News-Herald, and a call to a number for Cuffee-Glenn on Friday also was unanswered.