Portsmouth’s Bill Moody is backtracking and will seek a 7th term on City Council, citing ’embarrassment’ over recent events

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Council’s longest-serving member, Bill Moody, has overturned an earlier decision and will now seek re-election, citing recent events which he says paint the city in a negative light.

“My concerns are how the city is run by the city council,” said Moody, 72, who was first elected in 1998. “I think there’s really a lot of embarrassment to portray the city as dysfunctional.”

The embarrassment that drove his decision, he says, is last week’s abrupt and split vote that ended Angel Jones as city manager. Moody voted against the motion and praised Jones for his skill and work to improve the city.

In 2018, Moody won his sixth term, with Mayor Shannon Glover and Councilman Paul Battle filling the other two vacant seats. Moody is a sales representative for WB Waste Solutions in Chesapeake.

In January, he posted on his social media accounts that he would not seek re-election. He told the Virginian-Pilot on Wednesday that his decision was based on a sense of stability on the board after Jones was hired.

But Moody said the current council has upended that stability. His displeasure is particularly directed at the four who voted to oust Jones – Battle, Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes and council members Chris Woodard and Mark Whitaker.

Moody said he brings institutional knowledge and “a lot of common sense” to the post.

“I think a bit of common sense is what’s missing right now,” he said.

Moody can run alongside a familiar face – former board member Nathan Clark, who unsuccessfully sought a second term on the board in 2020.

Clark, a retired law enforcement officer and firefighter, said he had received many calls from residents asking him to run a race because they knew of his background and wanted changes on the council.

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“Right now I’m collecting signatures to put my name on the ballot,” Clark said.

Clark was among those who attended Tuesday night’s special meeting in Portsmouth, and it was the first public place where he asked for the 125 signatures needed to be placed on the ballot for the November election.

“If not me, then who” is the mantra guiding Clark’s campaign, he said. And although the encouragement he received to seek another term prompted him to run, last week’s controversial vote upheld that decision.

Given the last two weeks of council action, Clark thinks the race will be packed, but he’s motivated to help the city move forward and that serving beforehand will give him a head start.

Clark also said he intended to support Moody in his bid for re-election, as he did in previous elections.

Moody and Battle currently hold two of the three seats up for grabs in the November election. Woodard was nominated in early 2021 to fill Glover’s seat when he was elected mayor.

Natalie Anderson, [email protected]757-732-1133.

Denise W. Whigham