CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville is starting the search for a new city manager, as Tarron Richardson announced his sudden resignation Friday, less than a year and a half into his tenure at City Hall. His last day will be September 30.
Richardson says that while sudden, there was not a specific reason for his resignation. Instead, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and protests calling for racial justice over the past six months had taken a toll.
“Working day in and day out, many, many hours, it takes a toll on you mentally and physically,” Richardson explained. "So, you know, I just thought it was a good time to step away to, you know, take care of myself.”
Charlottesville City Attorney John C. Blair II will step in as acting city manager on October 1.
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker says Richardson had informed the council roughly two weeks ago about his decision. At this time, the search to replace him is in the earliest stages.
“We haven’t, you know, really had a lengthy lengthy discussion about it, but we plan to use a search firm," Walker explained. “We hope that (the search) is shorter in duration, but we don’t we can’t say for certain. Again, this is all relatively new and we have to process.”
Asked if the recent turnover at City Hall was concerning to the council, Walker says it’s something they are focused on fixing.
“The intention behind every council member at this time is to create a thriving community," Walker said. "For us to do that we will need a stable organization. So, yes, it’s concerning to us and it’s a goal to repair it.”
From 1976 to 2017, Charlottesville had just three city managers. Richardson’s replacement will be the second full-time city manager in as many years. As for whether the turnover at that position, and other positions in City Hall, will affect the hiring process, Walker says it is too soon to tell.
“We all do the best we can and hope that at some point in the near future that someone will find Charlottesville to be an attractive place to be employed and help us grow, and work through some of our challenges,” Walker said.
Mayor Walker was also asked about the Murphy Memo, a 4-page letter critical of Richardson written by outgoing Deputy City Manager Mike Murphy last year, and whether that played a role in Richardson’s resignation. She declined to comment, saying the city would like to leave that matter in the past.
RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE RESIGNATION OF DR. TARRON J. RICHARDSON AND APPOINTING JOHN BLAIR AS ACTING CITY MANAGER AND APPOINTING LISA ROBERTSON AS ACTING CITY ATTORNEY
WHEREAS, the Charlottesville City Council (hereinafter “Council”) appointed Dr. Tarron J. Richardson (hereinafter “Dr. Richardson”) as Charlottesville City Manager with an effective date of May 13, 2019; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Richardson and the Council have mutually agreed to Dr. Richardson’s resignation as Charlottesville City Manager with an effective date of September 30, 2020.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia that it hereby accepts the resignation of Dr. Richardson with an effective date of September 30, 2020.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia that it hereby appoints John Blair as Acting City Manager with an effective date of October 1, 2020.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia that it hereby appoints Lisa Robertson as Acting City Attorney with an effective date of October 1, 2020.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia that it hereby authorizes Mayor Nikuyah Walker to negotiate and execute employment agreements with Mr. Blair and Ms. Robertson for their service as Acting City Manager and Acting City Attorney.