Authors of petition to bring back Tarron Richardson gather at Charlottesville’s ‘Freedom Wall’

Authors of petition to bring back Tarron Richardson gather at Charlottesville’s ‘Freedom Wall’
Charlottesville city manager Tarron Richardson discusses his first year on the job during an appearance on "Cville360". (Source: City of Charlottesville)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Five Charlottesville women, who wrote a petition urging the Charlottesville City Council to bring back former City Manager Tarron Richardson, convened at the Freedom Wall in downtown Charlottesville Friday night to share their message.

“My main reason for doing what I did [was] to save the city and to change the narrative of how you all made him look,” said Tanesha Hudson, one of the authors of the petition.

Hudson was joined by Gloria Beard, Katrina Turner, Abby Tanenbaum Guskind, and Jojo Robertson in writing the petition.

“We feel that our city has been in complete chaos since his departure,” the online petition reads.

The petition cites Richardson’s successes and praises his meetings with people in the community.

Richardson resigned in September after a 16-month tenure as city manager. He said that “working day in and day out, many, many hours” took a toll on him “mentally and physically.”

At the final City Council meeting before his departure, Richardson defended his work, saying “You don’t achieve these things as city manager through mismanagement, being willfully ignorant, or being mediocre.”

During Friday evening’s gathering, Robertson said the message she wanted to send to the city is they need to do something, “and they need to do it now.”

Hudson says that action should be to “have a conversation with [Richardson], put an offer on the table, have him come back, [and] vow to work with him.”

During Richardson’s tenure, email exchanges showed that he and former Fire Chief Andrew Baxter were at odds about the department’s future and funding. In his resignation letter, Baxter wrote “I have come to understand that we do not share the same vision for the Charlottesville Fire Department or leadership of the city government.”

Richardson has not made any public indication about whether he is interested in returning to Charlottesville government in any role.

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