Charlottesville marks 100 years of city-manager form of government

On this day 100 years ago, a three-person Charlottesville City Council sat for the first time in a new term and soon afterward appointed Boyd A. Bennett to serve as the first city manager. Bennett had been the public works director in Lynchburg, according to an account in the Alexandria Gazette at the time. 

Since that time, just under a dozen people have held the position, which serves as the chief executive officer of the city government under the supervision of the elected Council. Bennett only lasted two years but his successors all had longer terms including that of James Bowen, who served from 1948 to 1970, followed by Cole Hendrix who would hold the job for nearly 25 years. 

A screenshot of the minutes from the September 1, 1922 City Council meeting when the three members appointed the first City Manager.

The position is currently held on an interim basis by Michael C. Rogers, whose contract with the city is actually held by a company he works for called the Robert Bobb Group. There were a string of interim and short-term managers once the contract of Maurice Jones expired at the end of July 2018. The contract with the Robert Bobb Group extends through the end of the year. 

Rogers is a supporter of the Council-Manager form of government.

“Charlottesville, like half the cities and towns in the United States, chooses this form of government to assure that services are delivered efficiently across the city, that issues are addressed based on facts and resolved based on the best interest for all and with integrity,” Rogers said in an email to Charlottesville Community Engagement.

A decision about how to proceed with recruiting a permament City Manager will be made sometimes after a new police chief is hired.

Learn more about the position of City Manager on cvillepedia

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the September 1, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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