Norfolk Council Names Ex-Con to Volunteer Post

Alphonso Albert generated controversy in 2007 when he was appointed to lead a new anti-crime agency in city government. Years earlier, he was convicted of manslaughter and drug violations and was charged and acquitted in another killing.

After a 6-2 council vote on Tuesday evening, Albert is back in city government. But this time he’s in a volunteer position – he was appointed to the board of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

The appointment was pushed by Councilman Paul Riddick and generated some division on the council. But Mayor Paul Fraim says the situation is different than in 2007.

“This is an unpaid volunteer position,” he said. “I have known Alphonso for years and know how committed he is to public service, and that’s why I was one of six council members to support his appointment.”

However, council members Andrew Protogyrou and Tommy Smigiel objected. Smigiel said he was concerned with Albert’s involvement in an anti-poverty agency that nearly went broke. He also said if there is a concern about diversity on the board, there are potentially hundreds of more qualified African American leaders who could have been appointed.

“This is status quo to me,” he said. “We keep on cycling the same names.”

Protogyrou said he opposed the appointment because he said since Albert probably didn’t qualify to live in public housing because of his criminal record, he shouldn’t sit on the board. Still, Protogyrou called Albert on Wednesday morning to wish him luck.

“He said thank you. And he said that he would give his all,” Protogyrou said.

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