Norfolk City Council passes resolution to request Burfoot’s resignation

Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, after a jury found him guilty of public corruption and perjury. (WAVY Photo)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Council is calling on City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot to resign.

During Tuesday night’s council meeting, members voted unanimously to request that Burfoot resign by 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 15. The resolution also directs the city manager to “take all actions necessary to secure the city’s financial assets.”

Efforts to recall Burfoot were kicked into overdrive after he was found guilty of six counts of corruption charges Friday.

Special Coverage: Burfoot Corruption Trial

Two city council members, Andria McClellan and Tommy Smigiel, had already called for Burfoot’s resignation. Based on Virginia law, it appears Burfoot doesn’t have to step down. City council does not have the authority to fire him.

“The mayor and the council wanted to show that we have taken all efforts that we can to move forward and to ask for the resignation,” McClellan said following the vote.

The majority of citizens who spoke during the council meeting commended the action.

“I am very proud of the action you all have taken today,” one man said. “It shows a strong sense of leadership and character.”

“It’s time to move forward and get the finances of the city back in good hands,” another citizen said.

According to officials with the city manager’s office, the resolution will remove Burfoot’s access to the city’s financial system and bank account. It will further revoke the requirement that Burfoot sign city checks.

One citizen, Alton Robinson, spoke against the resolution.

“There’s an appeal process,” he said.

Burfoot’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, has continually said that his client will not resign. The treasurer returned to work on Monday.

10 On Your Side reached Sacks by phone after the council vote. He maintained that Burfoot will not step down, and will rather continue doing the job he was elected to do.

Sacks called the action by council “irresponsible” and stated that members are meddling in a situation they have no legal authority to meddle in. He stated that the matter is legal, not political.

Burfoot is set to be sentenced in April. According to Sacks, his client will appeal and could remain out on bond, depending on the judge’s decision.

If that occurs, and recall efforts fail, Burfoot could remain treasurer until his term expires in Nov. 2017.

Tuesday, a citizen filed a second recall petition. Councilman Smigiel told 10 On Your Side that council could file a third petition if Burfoot refuses to resign.

Mayor Kenny Alexander introduced the resolution during the meeting, but had no comment afterwards.