Category Archives: Charlottesville

Council candidates on City Manager search

Last week, I co-hosted held a candidate forum with the Free Enterprise Forum for four of the five candidates in the Democratic primary race for three seats on the city Council. Dashad Cooper was unable to attend.

The four who were present took questions on housing, economic development, and the budget. They also were asked a question by me during the session:

“Charlottesville has contracted with an independent consultant in their city manager search,” I asked. “While the new city manager might be selected prior to the November election, what three skills do you believe are critical for the position of City Manager?” 

One of the slides in Polihire’s search for the open city manager position (read the brochure)
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Changes may be coming to closed-door planning group

A non-public body of city, county and UVA officials are considering changes to the group operates. 

“There a lot of administration and housekeeping issues that we have worked through,” said Charlottesville Planning Commissioner Hosea Mitchell in a report to his colleagues Tuesday. 

The Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee (LUEPC) was formed after the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and City Council agreed in late 2019 to disband a public body that had operated in public to discuss areas of mutual interest.  It does not have to conform to Virginia’s open meeting laws because no elected officials are members. 

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Council agrees to use $1.375M in ARPA funds to upgrade human resources software

The American Rescue Plan Act was the second federal response to the economic calamity caused by the shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 in 2020. Charlottesville was awarded a total of $19.6 million and Council was asked Monday to approve three allocations totalling $1,710,854. 

  • $1,375,854 for Human Resources to purchase the “Success Factor HRIS system” which will be used to manage collective bargaining in the city. 
  • $240,000 to update the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan. 
  • $95,000 for the Charlottesville Fire Department, which includes $30,000 for public safety messaging materials, $5,000 for “Stop the Bleed” kits, and $60,000 for ballistic vests.

“If you adopt or if you approve the resolution of all of these transfers, that will leave us without about $2 million left in our ARP funds,” said Finance Director Chris Cullinan. “That’s roughly ten percent of our original allotment.” 

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Charlottesville moving forward to hire city attorney

Prospective Communications Director turns down job

Charlottesville has been without an in-house City Attorney since Lisa Robertson abruptly resigned at the end of 2022The city has contracted with two separate law firms to provide legal advice, but that could come to an end soon according to Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. 

“We will conclude the interviews for City Attorney this week and my plan is to come to you for interviews in the intervening weeks so that you can make a decision at the next Council meeting,” Rogers said.

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Charlottesville City Council returns to in-person meetings

The May 1, 2023 meeting of the Charlottesville City Council had something that’s not been really audible in a long time in City Council Chambers – applause. 

“It is really great to have people back in this room,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook. “We have missed that for the last three years and so glad we’ve got a good crowd here.”

The last “normal” City Council meeting was held on March 2, 2020. The next one on March 16, 2020 was quite different with an in-person meeting that featured the first attempts of trying to allow public comment online. That was the subject of the second episode of a podcast I did at the time called the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. Go back and listen!

The room was not packed, but all of the chairs were available for sitting
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Charlottesville seeking applications for boards and commissions

So you’ve read this newsletter or listened to this podcast for a while. Or maybe you just started. Either way, perhaps you’d like to have a chance of being in the newsletter! One way to do that is to get yourself appointed to a Board or Commission in the City of Charlottesville. Applications are open now. 

“We believe it is not only the right, but the responsibility of interested and capable citizens to become engaged in local government policy by advising City Council on important community-related issues,” reads a press release that went out this morning.

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Council ends COVID restrictions 37 months after pandemic began

There will soon be no more restrictions on who can attend meetings held by Charlottesville city government. The city has remained one of the only localities in Virginia to still be holding some of its meetings electronically and restrict physical participation due to COVID-19. 

“Effective May 1, 2023, the following will go into effect,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “The Clerk of Council will discontinue seat reservation procedures making the Council Chambers accessible to anyone.”

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Charlottesville appoints new police board director

The City of Charlottesville has hired a 28-year veteran of law enforcement to serve as the next director of civilian oversight for the police department. Inez Gonzalez served 25 years with the police department in Newark, New Jersey

“Ms. Gonzalez is passionate about police accountability and policies that ensure that accountability,” said Ashley Marshall, the city’s Deputy City Manager for Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. 

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Charlottesville considering changes to fee structure for building permits

Later this month, the city of Charlottesville will begin to use new software to track various land use applications processed by the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services. They’ll begin with building permits, but will need to adjust the price of various fees according to building official Charles Miller. 

“One thing that we found out on this new software is that the calculations can’t handle the old way that we did the fees so it had to be done, we had to redo it,” Miller said. 

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