Charlottesville City Council hiring firm to help with City Manager search

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 9:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Council held a special session on Monday night, Feb. 13, to interview firms that will help search for a permanent city manager.

City council says it’s announcing its choice of firm at the council session held on Tuesday, Feb. 21. It’s been more than two years since Charlottesville has had a permanent city manager.

“It’s been a challenge to find a permanent city manager, and I think in terms of staffing, it’s the single most important decision we can make,” Charlottesville City Councilor Michael Payne said.

The job has had a lot of turnover, with current Interim City Manager Michael Rogers being the fourth person to fill the position in the last five years. This position is no small role, with a salary of about $200,000 per year.

“In a lot of ways, they’re more important than the council. I mean, the council sets the policy vision, but it’s the city manager in the city manager’s office that executes that vision. So if you’re without a good city manager team, the council can pass any resolutions and policies they want, but they won’t happen,” Payne said.

This instability has delayed some of the changes council wants to see made.

“There’s no question that it has slowed down the implementation of our affordable housing plan, our climate action plan, zoning rewrite across the board, but I think we can look at this now as an opportunity to find the right candidate who will set out the strategic vision for the community and to kind of incorporate all the political changes that have been happening here into reality,” Payne said.

Payne says there are a few reasons the search has been so difficult.

“For several years, there’s been a lot of competing interests, a lot of demands for change, a lot of turmoil from the 2017 summer, and it’s all combined to be a difficult environment in Charlottesville for not just city managers, but staff throughout the board,” Payne said.

Council says its goal is to hire a permanent city manager by the end of June 2023.

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