By New Journal and Guide Staff
Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen announced on Wednesday, August 28 that he will step down from the job he has held for three years. Before that, he spent 10 years as a deputy city manager.
Hansen, 67, had come under fire from the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Minister’s Conference (VBIMC) for the manner in which he handled the investigation of the May 31, 2019 mass shooting at the Municipal Center which left 12 victims dead along with the shooter.
Recently, several city council members expressed openly their concerns about Hansen’s ability to manage the city’s business. His resignation came after a closed session meeting on Tuesday, August 26, with the council.
In a farewell email to department heads, Hansen wrote, “Our most recent tragedy will take all our energy, strength and patience so we can walk the long path of recovery ahead.
“You define your destiny. You determine your work environment. You are accountable for your own actions. I don’t believe in pointing fingers, I believe in rolling up our sleeves and figuring out how to solve our challenges.”
On August 15, 2019, the New Journal and Guide reported that the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Minister’s Conference (VBIMC) was calling for the immediate firing of the City Manager over his policies which they believe may have contributed to the mass shooting tragedy on May 31 that left 12 victims dead.
In a letter dated August 12 and sent to the Mayor and the entire city council, the ministers wrote, “From press reports, you (Mayor Dyer) are aware of the laundry list of management, leadership, and communication blunders Mr. Hansen has made over the last few years.
“Insulting Aubrey Layne, a member of the Governor’s cabinet, communicating with developers before ensuring all councilpersons were informed about economic development initiatives, participating in racially sensitive text messages with city employees about this organization and other marchers during the 2017 Faith, Freedom and Justice march, calling African-American students’ “thugs”who were visiting Virginia Beach during College Beach Weekend, and making racially insensitive remarks at a community forum in the aftermath of the recent Floatopia event. And finally allowing city employees to be fired and arrested for speaking up and addressing the toxic and noxious environment that exists within the city government is without excuse.”
“These and other incidents have led us to conclude that we are at a serious crossroads in our great City,” the letter continued.
“And in our opinion, Mr. Hansen is incapable or unwilling to make the necessary changes to move our city forward.
Rev. James Allen, who heads the association of Black ministers in Virginia Beach, added other complaints in an interview with the GUIDE. “Further, tolerating the ouster of employees, nepotism or selectively hiring individuals for jobs and overlooking the experiences and the ability of more qualified.”
Hansen told the department heads in addition to resigning, he would be submitting for retirement. “I want you to know I will remain your biggest cheerleader and don’t you ever believe you are anything less than the very best. Take care of yourselves, your coworkers and our citizens.”