Charlottesville City Council (2022-2023)

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Charlottesville City Council
Official city seal of Charlottesville

Charlottesville City Council (2022-2023)
Type: Unicameral (officially nonpartisan)
Electoral District Plurality-at-large
Term Start January 1, 2022
Term End December 31, 2023
Preceded by Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021)
Succeeded by Charlottesville City Council (2024-2025)

Last Election: November 2, 2021

Next Election: November 7, 2023

Biographical Information

Charlottesville City Hall, 605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

The Charlottesville City Council (2022-2023) is the city's current legislative body under the fourth charter of the city, granted by the Legislature in 1946 (revised in 2020). The next election will be held on November 7, 2023.

​​The City of Charlottesville has operated under a five member council-manager form of government since 1928. The City Manager is appointed by the council and acts as chief executive officer - implementing policies established by council. The mayor and vice-mayor are chosen by the council. Council members are given a salary of $18,000 per year for councilors and $20,000 for the mayor. [1] Their service includes two public meetings per month, and overseeing finances and ordinances in the city.

Local elections (city, county, judges, education boards) are all nonpartisan; however, all councilors are affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Key Issues facing Charlottesville City Council

Hiring a new permanent city manager

July 12, 2023 – Charlottesville Mayor J. Lloyd Snook announced the selection Samuel Sanders, Jr. as the new City Manager on this Wednesday. Sanders has officially been appointed by City Council and his contract approved for his first day in the role on August 1, 2023. [2] The Council had been advertising the position since March 2023. According to Mayor Lloyd Snook, the city received 20 qualified applicants and has narrowed them to three, all of whom have at least two decades experience in municipal leadership.[3]

Charlottesville had been without a permanent city manager since Chip Boyles resigned from the position in October 2021, and has been through six city managers in five years. The city council re-started a process of advertising for a search firm to begin the city manager search.

Approve 2024 budget

The proposed 2024 budget will be formally presented to Council March 6, 2023 with public hearings March 20, 2023 and April 3, 2023. The final budget will be approved April 11, 2023.[4] With assessed property values increasing 12% across the city, the local government will collect more tax revenue in 2023, as compared to 2022. This council will decide how to spend additional money the city may receive from surging housing assessments.

Approve 2023 budget

Charlottesville ended 2022 with a $23 million surplus, $11.5 million was rolled into the 2023 budget. The final 2023 budget totaled $212 million. Budget priorities for the 2023 fiscal year were intentionally planned to correlate with the City’s strategic goals focused on creating an inclusive community, a healthy city, a sustainable natural environment and a strong and diversified economy, according to the City website.

The approved budget allocates nearly $9.8 million to various affordable housing initiatives, including providing funding to the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program and earmarking funds to be spent on building affordable housing projects. The fiscal year 2022 budget, in comparison, dedicated $6.5 million to affordable housing initiatives.

The 2023 budget allocated $12.3 million to the Parks and Recreation department, $14 million to the Charlottesville Fire Department and $20 million to the Charlottesville Police Department.[5]

Workforce retention

Charlottesville has approved more than 1,000 jobs, but hundreds of them are still unfilled. “We recently hired a new recruiter in the Human Resource Department who will be devoted full time to recruiting to fill vacancies in the city,” Interim City Manager Michael Rogers said.[6]

Zoning ordinance rewrite

Councilor will vote on a new zoning ordinance that broadly increases housing density across Charlottesville.

Charlottesville's Green City Vision

The city seeking a Climate Protection Program Manager to serve as a subject matter expert and develops and delivers programs and services aimed at lowering the associated GHG emissions.

Proposed New Charlottesville Voting Precincts

On January 17, 2023, revised boundary lines for the nine Charlottesville voting precincts were presented before City Council. The proposal included the retirement of Tonsler Recreation Center and Alumni Hall as polling places and introduced Jackson-Via Elementary and Charlottesville High School as replacements.

Creation of an Affordable Housing Plan

(endorsed by the Council in March 2021)

Updating Charlottesville’s Comprehensive Plan

(adopted by the Council in November 2021)

Residents Who are Un-housed

A homeless encampment increased at Market Street Park after closing hours were lifted. On September 21, 2023, City Manager, Samuel Sanders, Jr. issued a directive to lift the closing time in Market Street Park. At a City Council meeting Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, City Manager Sam Sanders presented a “homeless intervention strategy.” The city’s main focus is on opening an additional shelter — or several.[7]

High-profile lawsuits

Former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney has filed a lawsuit in federal court against multiple parties alleging that, among other things, the city of Charlottesville acted unlawfully when former City Manager Chip Boyles fired her on September 1, 2021. She’s seeking ten million dollar in damages.

Vacant seat on the Council

On January 5, 2023, Councilor Magill announced that she will resign from office effective January 11, 2023 to attend to her family.[8] [9] [10] The seat on the city council remains vacant until appointed by the council. Rather than call for a special election, the council decided to appoint a new member to fill the vacant seat. [11] According to Virginia state law, the new member will serve the remainder of Magill’s un-expired term, ending on December 31, 2023. This appointed seat, along with the two expiring seats held by Snook and Payne, will be decided as part of the November 2023 general election.

In a previous interview, Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he hoped to appoint another woman to take her seat. “There are other prominent women in other sort of upper middle management kinds of positions, as well, but I think we’re better off if we’ve got at least one woman on council,” Snook said. “That would suggest a preference there, but it’s not a quota.”[12]

There’s no election for this opening; the current City Council members will choose one of the six finalists to serve out Magill’s term on Feb 21, 2023. A public community input session will take place this Monday, February 6, 2023.[13]

Candidates for vacant seat

The following is the list of initial applicants for appointment to the Charlottesville City Council to fill the unexpired term of departing Councilor Magill (deadline 5:00 p.m. January 30, 2023). Councilors whittled this list down to six (*) on February 1, 2023. Leah Puryear was appointed to the council on February 21, 2023 to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of Sena Magill. Puryear will hold the office until it expires on December 31, 2023.

  1. Kate Bennis
  2. Alex Bryant *
  3. Michael Cusano
  4. Philip d'Oronzio
  5. Don Dunham, III
  6. Kathy Galvin *
  7. Margaret Gardiner
  8. James Guidry, Sr.
  9. Sam Gulland
  10. John Hall
  11. Carla Manno
  12. Sarah Moniz
  13. Natalie Oschrin *
  14. Rosia Parker
  15. Leah Puryear*
  16. John Santoski
  17. Maynard Sipe
  18. Kristin Szakos *
  19. Lisa Torres *
  20. Christopher Valtin

Filling a vacancy

According to the revised (2020) city charter, a vacancy on the council is to be filled by the body “in accordance with the general laws of the Commonwealth.” Under Virginia law, in order to temporarily fill the vacated position:

  1. Within 15 day of the vacancy, the remaining member of the council may call for a special election to fill the vacant seat.
  2. The remaining member of the council may appoint a qualified voter of the city. This appointment must be made within 45 days (February 25, 2023) of the vacancy (January 11, 2023). If the appointment is not made or the remaining members cannot agree on a nominee, the judges of the circuit court will make the appointment. This appointed person may only serve until the qualified voters of the city fill the seat through a special election or, in the case of the Vacant seat scheduled to expire on December 31, 2023, no election to fill the vacancy is required to be held in the year in which the term expires.[14]

COVID-19 Emergency

After almost three years of COVID-19 emergency measures, the Biden administration has announced it will end COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11, 2023.

On Monday April 18, 2022, Charlottesville City Council met in-person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albemarle County and Charlottesville declared local emergencies on March 12, 2020 in order to help coordinate public safety efforts to contain the spread of the disease. This gave officials more flexibility to conduct business and resulted in the temporary halt of public meetings as well as the delay of the adoption of the FY21 budget in Albemarle County. [15]

About the City Council

The City of Charlottesville operates under a Council-Manager form of government. Charlottesville voters elect a five member Council to serve at large as the City’s legislative and governing body. The members serve four year terms, and they select one councilor to serve as mayor and one as vice-mayor for two years. Since 2007, municipal elections have been held in November in odd-numbered years. The terms of Council members are staggered so that three are elected in one year and two are elected two years later. If a vacancy occurs, Council elects a new member to serve out the unexpired term.

Mayor & Vice-mayor

The Mayor presides over meetings, may call special meetings, makes some appointments to advisory boards and serves as the ceremonial head of government. The Vice-mayor substitutes whenever the mayor is not available.


City Council appoints the City Manager, the Director of Finance, the City Assessor, the Clerk of the Council and members of major policy-making and advisory Boards and Commissions. The Clerk represents Council to the public during regular business hours, notifying citizens of Council meetings and maintaining public records of the meetings. Council makes policy in the areas of: City Planning and Finances, Human Development, Public Safety and Justice, Public Utilities, and Transportation.


City Council Meeting - Broadcasted 2/6/23 6:28pm - 2/6/23 9:19pm

​​On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month (except holidays and unless otherwise stated in public notice) council meetings are held in-person in City Council Chambers (City Hall) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Council Work Sessions are sometimes held at 4:00 p.m.

Starting in March 2020, City Council Chambers were closed to the public and meetings were conducted virtually via a Zoom webinar. On Monday April 18, 2022, Charlottesville City Council met in-person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was held in City Council Chambers (City Hall). Only 23 spots were open for members of the public, with two spots for media members. Not all of the spots were full. People could still speak over Zoom and councilors received some presentations from virtual staff members.[16]

According to the city's website (January 2023): "The 4:00 pm Council Work Sessions are in-person and limited to City Council members and up to 3 staff members in the gallery, with virtual access available for the public. The 6:30 pm Council Meetings are in-person in Council Chamber with up to 23 pre-registered members of the public and 2 media representatives, and up to 3 City staff members in the gallery (usually the City Manager, City Attorney and Clerk of Council)."[17]

In October 2023, the Charlottesville City Council temporarily suspended virtual public comments. Mayor Snook said the council was already hearing more comments than required by law. "Virginia law only requires us to receive public comment once every calendar quarter, and yet we do so in every meeting," he said. Snook noted that virtual public comment will be allowed again when the council "changes their minds." Until then, people who wish to comment will need to do so in person.[18]

Salaries & Compensations

Charlottesville Council members are given a salary of $18,000 per year for councilors and $20,000 for the mayor. Their service includes two public meetings per month, and overseeing finances and ordinances in the city. Charlottesville has one of the highest average salaries for council members in Virginia. State code sets salary limits for members of city councils based on population, ranging from $11,000 to $30,000. laws of the Commonwealth.

Expense and Expenditure Policy

On February 22, 2022, after years of discussion, the Charlottesville City Council (2022-2023) approved City Council Rules and Procedures for council reimbursables. Examples of authorized "Reimbursables" include:

  • Meals and/or travel and parking expenses for attendance at official functions, general assembly sessions, or ceremonies/special events to which City Council, or an individual councilor, or a Council staff member, is invited or is required to attend;
  • Travel to seminars and meetings.
  • Meals or refreshments for an individual Councilor himself/herself/themself, meeting IRS standards for allowable business expenses.
  • Home office supplies for individual Councilors such as office furniture, pens, copy paper, etc.

Any individual Councilor or Council staff may use a City credit card issued to such Councilor/ staff member to purchase Reimbursables. Requirements for documentation of purchases made with a City-issued credit card, as well as daily per-diems and mileage reimbursement rates, shall be the same as established by the City Manager/ Director of Finance for City employees. No credit card issued to an individual City Councilor shall be used to purchase any goods, services or items other than: reimbursables; tokens of sympathy or appreciation; goods, services or items approved by City Council as a body.[19]

Advisory appointments

2023 Boards and Commissions appointment schedule

City Council is scheduled to make board appointments during council meetings, viz:

  • March 20, 2023 (application deadline March 10, 2023)
  • June 20, 2023 (application deadline June 9, 2023)
  • September 18, 2023 (application deadline September 8, 2023)
  • December 18, 2023 (application deadline December 8, 2023)

Note: Council may approve a one-off appointment cycle and extend an application deadline; Board vacancies must be advertised for a minimum of 30 days.

See also


  1. Web. Sec. 2-40. - Salaries of members and mayor., Charlottesville Code of Ordinances, Charlottesville, Virginia, retrieved April 17, 2024.
  2. Web. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders Officially Appointed by Council as Charlottesville’s New City Manager, July 17, 2023, retrieved October 11, 2023.
  3. Web. City Council hopes to hire its sixth city manager in six years before July, JUNE 9, 2023, retrieved October 11, 2023.
  4. Web. City Council discusses 2024 budget, public restrooms on the downtown mall, October 20, 2022, retrieved Feb. 6, 2023.
  5. Web. Charlottesville City Council approves 2023 budget, real estate tax increase, The Cavalier Daily, April 15, 2022, retrieved Feb. 6, 2023.
  6. Web. Charlottesville struggling to fill hundreds of job vacancies, Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:20 AM EST, retrieved Feb. 7, 2023.
  7. Web. Charlottesville had — and lost — a shelter that social workers say could have helped hundreds of unhoused people off the streets, OCTOBER 11, 2023, retrieved OCTOBER 11, 2023.
  8. Web. Charlottesville City Councilor Sena Magill resigns, Dryden Quigley, News Article, NBC29, January 3, 2023, retrieved January 5, 2023.
  9. Web. Charlottesville City Council Member Sena Magill resigns, Alice Berry, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, January 4, 2023, retrieved January 5, 2023.
  10. Web. Charlottesville City Councilor Magill resigns, remaining four members will accept applications to appoint her replacement, Angilee Shah, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 4, 2023, retrieved January 5, 2023.
  11. Web. Charlottesville City Councilor Magill resigns, remaining four members will accept applications to appoint her replacement, Charlottesville Tomorrow, JANUARY 4, 2023, Updated JANUARY 9, 2023, retrieved January 15, 2023.
  12. Web. Charlottesville taking applications to replace Councilor Magill, NBC29, Jan. 4, 2023 at 4:54 PM EST, retrieved March 8, 2023.
  13. Web. Six Finalists for Vacant City Council Seat, Charlottesville Democratic Committee, Posted on February 2, 2023, retrieved Feb. 7, 2023.
  14. Web. § 24.2-226. Election to fill vacancy., Commonwealth of Virginia, retrieved January 20, 2023.
  15. Web. Albemarle, Charlottesville declare local emergencies; schools cancel class March 16, Katherine Knott, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, March 12, 2020, retrieved March 12, 2020.
  16. Web. Charlottesville City Council holds first in-person meeting since COVID-19 pandemic began, Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:55 PM EDT, retrieved January 15, 2023.
  17. Web. CITY COUNCIL: Meetings, retrieved January 15, 2023.
  18. Web. City council temporarily suspends virtual public comment, Tuesday, October 17th 2023, 9:13 PM EDT Updated: Thursday, October 19th 2023, 3:57 PM EDT, CBS19, retrieved December 16, 2023.
  19. Web. City Council Rules and Procedures approved February 22 2022 (PDF), City of Charlottesville, February 22 2022, retrieved April 6, 2023.