Later on this evening, the Charlottesville City Council will have their first meeting of the year. One of the items is a report from interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers who will celebrate his one year anniversary on January 31. These written reports provide a glimpse into the operations of the city government and here are some of the highlights. (read the report)
- Allyson Davies is serving as the city’s interim City Attorney following the sudden resignation of Lisa Robertson late last month. Davies has been with the city since 1999 according to a question that ended up being a Freedom of Information Act request. The position has been advertised. Rogers writes that he wants the position filled in three months.
- The city has hired a labor relations manager to manage the new collective bargaining ordinance which went into effect on January 1. Petitions and elections will be conducted in February with the first bargaining period set to begin in March.
- Seven firms have responded to a request for a firm to conduct the city’s next strategic plan. A selection will be made by the end of the month with the work set to begin in February. Strategic plans help local governments prioritize what staff members should be doing.
- The pedestrian tunnel under the Belmont Bridge has reopened. A mid-block crossing at Graves Street will be permanently closed once a sidewalk between Graves and Levy is completed.
- A temporary bus stop has opened on East High Street as a sidewalk is built in front of the AT&T building. The stop was recently moved to prevent impatient and potentially unstable motorists from using parking lots to pass stopped buses.
Longtime readers and listeners know by now that this newsletter and podcast seeks to give information about various plans, be they site, Comprehensive, Small Area, Biodiversity Action, strategic, or otherwise. Local governments in Albemarle and Charlottesville have hundreds of employees and in order to run an organization you need some kind of documents to coordinate what everyone’s doing.
Or in many cases, you don’t.
In any case, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors made progress with two overarching plans at their meeting on October 19, 2022. The first was the Strategic Plan, which sets six overarching goals for what the county government hopes to achieve. These goals and their objectives can be reviewed on the county’s website. Here’s the staff report for the October 19 work session.
Charlottesville is seeking a firm to help relaunch the creation of a new strategic plan. A request for proposals for a consultant went out on Monday to update a plan that ran out in FY2020 but was extended.
“The process will be closely coordinated with and guided by a Strategic Plan Working Group comprised of City staff members,” reads the RFP. “The Working Group envisions a highly engaged consulting role that is deeply involved in gathering, processing, and summarizing the information generated by various consultation and participation processes.”
One big topic in the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast is planning. There are Comprehensive Plans, Long Range Transportation Plans, Regional Transit Vision Plans, Climate Action Plans, and so much more. There are also strategic plans, and Albemarle County is in the midst of creating one to guide the next five years.
“We have many plans in our community that drive work and progress and we really want to connect those things better and be able to align that work, so this big picture thinking allows our services to remain adaptable as our community environment changes,” said Kristi Shifflett, the director of performance and strategic planning for Albemarle County.
What role should economic development play in the future of Charlottesville? That question is a crucial one as local governments continue to recover from the pandemic, and key in a city where there’s been much executive turnover in the past five years. This week, the city’s seven-member Economic Development Authority was briefed on a new strategic plan intended to guide the city’s efforts.
“It has been about ten years since we embarked on a full-blown strategic planning process so with the encouragement of our interim city manager, Michael Rogers, we are proceeding down the path to have a consultant guide us through a strategic planning effort,” said Chris Engel, the city’s economic development director.
The publication UVA Today notes that it has been three years since the University of Virginia adopted a strategic plan that has the name Great and Good. Several goals and objectives in the plan seek to position UVA to become “a strong partner and a good neighbor to Charlottesville.”
“Our relationship with Charlottesville and the surrounding counties is critically and mutually important, “ reads the introduction to Goal 2. “Our success as a university depends in no small part on the strength of those communities, and on the strength of our relationship with them. We will reach our potential as a university only if we partner with our neighbors to ensure that the Charlottesville region is an attractive and equitable place to live.”
At their meeting on October 3, 2018, the six members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors learned that their top strategic initiative for the upcoming fiscal year is to “develop and implement Phase 1 of the Climate Action Plan.”
In September, supervisors were asked at a work session to score their budgetary priorities related to the strategic plan, a document used by county staff to help develop future budgets. Each elected official was given nine dots with descending levels of weight and told to rank 12 possibilities.
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors spent five hours on Friday, September 7, looking back at accomplishments made under the county’s Comprehensive Plan as well as giving direction on what staff should focus on in the coming years.
“Today we are about promoting our community’s future,” said County Executive Jeffrey Richardson. “The economic vitality and quality of life in this community is just astounding.”