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Charlottesville councilor describes next steps in search for city manager

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:15 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There are major holes in Charlottesville’s leadership. The most recent is the upcoming loss of City Manager Chip Boyles. Finding someone to replace him and take on this big role may be easier said than done.

City Councilor Heather Hill says they are back to square one. She thinks council needs to take a deep breath and check in with senior leadership before they can begin to search for a new city manager.

“We’ve been down this path before and there’s only so many kind of rounds on this that I think staff, or even the council, is prepared to take on,” Hill said.

Hill says city leadership was in a better place a month ago, but now they are going back to the drawing board with fewer options and less curb appeal.

“I do feel that we’re going to be taking several steps back as a result of him no longer manning this ship,” Hill said. “Just the impact that that’s already having on staff, even in the first 24 hours.”

How will councilors rebuild and move forward? Hill says, they cant just yet. She hopes the experienced people still in City Hall can help and act as a sounding board.

“Our first step is just to kind of have a check-in with our senior staff, just to see where they are all at,” Hill said. “I regret that we didn’t do that more proactively during our prior transitions.”

Hill also hopes the community will engage more, even though recent events, she says, have caused people to tune out.

“Right now, I think many of us just kind of feel paralyzed by by the environment in which we’re trying to work,” Hill said. “As a result, not a lot of things are getting done, not a lot of progress is being made on our priorities and so my main thing is just asking the community to please engage with us.”

Council still needs to appoint an interim city manager in the meantime.

Once the new council is formed in January, a full search for a permanent city manager will begin.

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