Local Government, Civic Affairs and Education

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David Bowers, Former Roanoke Mayor and 2024 Mayoral Candidate

Updated: As Roanoke’s City manager prepares to leave office, a former Mayor is asking why city leaders weren’t prepared to address the situation. More from WFIR’s Clark Palmer.


Previous:Following the impending exit of Bob Cowell from his role of Roanoke City Manager, Former Roanoke Mayor and 2024 Mayoral candidate David Bowers spoke with WFIR today on the thought of Mayor Sherman Lea assuming the role of acting City Manager. Bowers argues that, despite how other localities allow for the consolidation of power, he does not believe that Roanoke’s Mayor should essentially take on the role of a ‘Chief Executive Officer,’ and that it would violate separation of powers. He added that he is unsure if Bob Cowell was a problem, but asserts that the City Council is a problem. The city is conducting a nationwide search for a replacement, for both an interim and permanent city manager.

Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell

Statement from Roanoke City: The City of Roanoke announced the departure of its City Manager, Bob Cowell, who has served the City for nearly seven years. His departure is effective June 7, 2024.

We appreciate Mr. Cowell’s service to the City, its employees, and look forward to what the future holds for both Bob and the City of Roanoke.

Beginning June 8, Mayor Lea will serve as interim city manager. The Mayor will be meeting with the assistant city managers to ensure continuity and accountability in our city. City Council has engaged a national search firm to identify an acting city manager who will be named soon. The same firm will work with City Council to develop a process for hiring a new city manager.

Roanoke is an All-America City and we remain committed to improving the quality of life for all of our citizens of Roanoke and all who visit our Star City.


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