CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - After three decades with Charlottesville, the city's top lawyer is moving on.

Craig Brown is the third person leaving city government, following a tumultuous summer of white supremacy and deadly violence.

NBC29 Henry Graff asked City Attorney Brown, point blank, if he was asked to leave or was pressured to leave, and he said no. This was his choice to pursue another opportunity, as the top lawyer for the city of Manassas.

The city attorney told Charlottesville City Council about his decision to leave during a closed meeting prior to Monday night's council meeting at City Hall.

Brown joined the City Attorney's Office in 1985, and was promoted to city attorney in 2001.

Most recently, he handled litigation leading up to August's Unite the Right rally, battling organizer Jason Kessler all the way to federal court.

“It's been a difficult year, obviously, and I have confidence though that the community, the city government will work together to move forward and overcome all the issues we are dealing with right now. It will take some time, but I'm confident that Charlottesville is going to be fine," Brown said.

Brown's announcement follows Monday's surprise news that Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas retired effective that day.

In October, City Spokeswoman Miriam Dickler announced she was leaving in early 2018.

Brown said pending litigation against the city will not be slowed due to his departure.

Deputy City Attorney Lisa Robertson will take the lead until a new city attorney is hired.

12/19/2017 Release from Charlottesville:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Craig Brown has announced that he will be leaving his position as City Attorney at the end of January 2018 to pursue another opportunity. Brown joined the City Attorney's Office in 1985, and was promoted to City Attorney in 2001.

"Craig Brown is one of the most dedicated local government employees I have encountered during my 16 years of public service," said City Manager Maurice Jones. "His professionalism, ethics and commitment to the law during the last 32 years have been major factors in the successful implementation of countless programs, policies and agreements that have positively impacted this community. We wish him nothing but the best."

Brown said "It's been an honor to represent the City of Charlottesville. I am especially grateful for the support I've received from City Council, City Manager Maurice Jones and my staff in the City Attorney's Office".

The city will begin the search for the next City Attorney immediately.

12/19/2017 Release from Manassas:

City of Manassas, VA . . . Stephen Craig Brown, formerly of Charlottesville, Virginia, joins the City of Manassas staff as City Attorney. Brown comes to the city with more than 38 years of experience as an attorney.

In his previous position as City Attorney for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, Brown supervised and managed three attorneys and two paralegals, serving more than 900 City of Charlottesville employees and their City Council. He has a wide range of experience working in local government. Brown earned his law degree at Wake Forest University School of Law and his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia.

“Craig’s long and distinguished career as a municipal attorney makes him an excellent addition to the City of Manassas leadership team,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. “The City of Manassas is excited to welcome Craig to the community. He will provide in-house legal services and manage the use of outside counsel as needed for specific projects and specialized services.”

“We are looking forward to working with Mr. Brown as our City attorney,” said Mayor Harry J. Parrish. “City Council was impressed with his knowledge about City government issues and his experience in local government will make him a welcome addition to our team.”

Brown will begin his tenure with the City of Manassas on February 20, 2018.