Bristol, VA council fires city manager, selects new mayor

PHOTO: Samantha Zarek

BRISTOL, VA - New leadership changes in Bristol, VA-- The firing of the former city manager comes as a surprise to many, especially the man who will be temporarily filling the position as interim city manager.

Randall Eads is the city's attorney. He says he was not expecting to be appointed city manager.

"[Were you expecting this?] Not at all. [Not at all?] Not at all.," he says.

The suprise comes as city council came out of a closed door executive session. Upon his appointment, former city manager, Tabitha Crowder was fired. She's been in the $125,000 position for the past four years. It was by a vote of four to one, with former mayor, Bill Hartley the only one voting against the decision.

Council also voted from its members to appoint Kevin Mumpower as the new mayor. He immediately called called for a special financial and legal audit of the city.

"We want to get our arms around in a very tight way how the city manages its financial position...good internal controls, a policy of how we manage the debt threshold, the debt limit of the city, how we approve disbursements and expenditures," says Mumpower.

The catapult of the firing is budget and financial frustrations bubbling up over the the city's debt in the Falls project and recent city budget problems.

"We've got to grow ourself out of the situation we're in. The city cannot continue to cut costs-- you can't cut your way to prosperity," he says.

Mumpower also says the city needs a detailed comprehensive plan to look at different economic development processes. Eads will serve as city manager while applications are received to fill the city manager's position permanently. Also, the council appointed Kevin Wingard as vice mayor.

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