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Before leaving his position as Roanoke City Manager, Bob Cowell talked about his seven years as the city’s chief executive



Roanoke, Virginia – Bob Cowell resigned from his position as Roanoke’s city manager on Friday.

He talked about his final departure from the job and his seven years as the city’s chief executive before departing the office for the last time.

Cowell defended his track record as city manager, claiming that many of the projects he started will pay off for the city.

“I think I leave with a good feeling, probably not as good as I hoped to be leaving, just to be completely honest. I mean I leave with a good feeling because of what we were able to accomplish while I was here, what I know will still be accomplished as we move forward,” Cowell said.

According to Cowell, the past seven years have been a team effort, with many people contributing to the city’s achievements.

He stated that the city’s response to COVID-19 ranked first on the list.

“Definitely came out of COVID strong and actually have set the stage for a much more resilient community going into the future,” he said.

Cowell said the city is making progress, but he admitted that there are still difficult problems, such as violent crime, that need to be addressed.

“The hiring of a new police chief, the reengagement with the community through our police department now that we’re past COVID, along with the Star City Safe initiative,” he said. “All of those are definitely making a difference.”

He then proceeded to enumerate a lengthy list of initiatives that are enhancing the neighborhood, such as bridge replacements and library upgrades.

Cowell talked in general terms about his departure and his conversations with city council, but he stated he could not talk about his separation agreement with the city.

“They had their reasons. I had my reasons, and we came to a mutual agreement that we were able to step away,” he said. “And I think a resolution that works well I think for both of us as we move forward.”

Additionally, he asserted that there is no systemic instability in the municipal administration as a result of the public criticism of his handling of a recent personnel issue.

“Yes indeed there was an issue with a particular incident. The incident was dealt with in the way that I thought best, but rest easy in knowing that the organization actually as a whole is a very sound and a very solid and positive environment.”

Cowell has no idea where the upcoming chapter will lead him. He predicted looking for a comparable position in a different city.

Next Monday, city council will hold a special meeting and we anticipate announcing the appointment of an interim city manager.


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