Snook selected to serve as Charlottesville Mayor
A divided council selects Snook as Mayor, but unanimously elects Wade as Vice Mayor
In their first vote of 2022, Charlottesville City Council chose Lloyd Snook to serve as mayor for the next two years. The first meeting with newcomers Brian Pinkston and Juandiego Wade was opened by Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall.
“The person elected to serve as Mayor will preside over City Council meetings and may call special meetings, make some appointments to advisory boards, and serves as the head of government for ceremonial purposes and official functions,” Marshall said. “The vice mayor substitutes whenever the mayor is not available.”
Wade nominated Snook for the position of Mayor.
“I think that he has the knowledge of governance to handle this position,” Wade said. “I think he understands the great importance of the position, and that the eyes of not only the city but a much broader audience will be looking upon him and I think that he understands the importance and knows what it takes to hear everyone’s voice.”
Snook said the city needs a vision as well as a management team to implement that vision.
“Our Comprehensive Plan sets out a compelling vision for the city that I think all five of us endorse,” Snook said. “A city of equity and opportunity where all people can thrive, a city with a rich and diverse culture where all people are welcomed and valued and respected, a well-planned city of neighborhoods with a variety of affordable housing choices, a city that demonstrates environmental and climate leadership, a government where all of our employees are respected and decisions are made with an eye on equity.”
Snook said as mayor he wants to lead the recruitment efforts for a new city manager who will serve a long term. In the meantime he said the Comprehensive Plan has 308 different strategies but there’s no clear sense of how to turn that into an action plan for the government. He said he wants to set up new advisory committees that can provide a jumpstart on the rebuilding process.
“In addition to the criminal justice and Marcus Alert task forces, and the Housing Advisory Committee, a climate change advisory committee, a group to work on transit and transportation policy, a group to develop a plan for historic Charlottesville,” Snook said.
Councilor Sena Magill had a different nominee in mind.
“I would like to nominate Michael Payne for Mayor,” Magill said. “Councilor Payne is very good at bringing people together across many different places. I have seen him put into words clearly thoughts and ideas that are often complex and make them reachable and is someone I know would do a very good job as well.”
Payne accepted the nomination.
“We are a divided community and divided along race, class, ideology, education level, and this has been a time of unprecedented crisis in a lot of ways,” Payne said.
Payne the pandemic has frayed the social fabric but said there has been a demonstrated ability to advance public policy on Council.
“Specific issues like implementing our affordable housing strategy, creating a land bank, creating our climate strategy and implementing it, as well as small things we see every day like recent calls from the community to take actions about Fifth Street,” Payne said.
Payne said the city needs a well-functioning government, and added that the city has been implementing some of its vision, such as adopting the Future Land Use Map and investing in the redevelopment of the city’s public housing units. He said his leadership would continue that work.
Snook got the nod on a 3 to 2 vote. There was only one candidate for vice mayor when Councilor Pinkston nominated Wade.
“Juandiego Wade has been a fixture in this community for decades,” Pinkston said. “He served at all levels. He has so much to contribute. He has a courageousness but also a humility that is instructive for me. I’m grateful for his leadership in the city and I think he will make a fantastic vice mayor and I hope others will vote the same.”
They did. Wade said he would accept the challenge.
“I have kind of fancied myself as the type of person who works behind the scenes to help get things done and look at the fruition of the efforts of myself and others,” Wade said,
That vote was unanimous.
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