City Manager

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The City Manager is an appointed municipal official who carries out the administrative and executive duties of the city government under a council-manager form of government. The city manager is not an elected position. The city manager serves at the pleasure of the City Council, which retains the legal right to dismiss and replace holder of this office. Because city managers are hired, not elected, they can lose their position if a majority of the 5-member council decide it is time for a change. [1]

Appointed by the Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021), Chip Boyles became the city manager on February 15, 2021.[2] The council anticipates launching a public search process for hiring a city manager, likely in 2022 after the next election. The 2021 election includes filling two open seats on the council at the beginning of the next new session. The Charlottesville City Council (2022-2023) legislative session will begin on January 1, 2022 and runs until December 31, 2023.

Ambox notice.png This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

City Attorney John Blair held the office of acting city manager from September 30, 2020 to February 12, 2021. Blair was appointed interim city manager by the city council following Tarron Richardson's resignation, effective on September 30, 2020, after a 16-month tenure.[3]. John Blair left the City of Charlottesville on March 5, 2021, having accepted a position as City Attorney in the City of Staunton.

What does the City Manager do?

The City Manager's office is responsible for implementing the policies and directives of the City Council throughout the various City departments and agencies.[4]

The city charter generally gives the city manager, as chief executive, the broad authority to hire and fire employees.

§ 5.01. City manager. Subject to general control by the council as provided in § 4 (b) hereof, the city manager shall have full executive and administrative authority and shall have the right to employ and discharge all employees under his control. All departments of city government, including the fire department and police department, shall be under the general supervision of the city manager.[5]

Under the council-manager statutes, the city council is prohibited from interfering with the manager's administration. The city manager, however, is directly accountable to and can be removed by a majority vote of the council at any time.

In the city’s system of government, the city manager is in charge of all operations, while the mayor, who is elected every two years by the council, is primarily responsible for managing council meetings.

The Boyles era

Boyles' tenure as City Manager began on February 15, 2021. Four months in, he told the Daily Progress that it had been as positive experience so far and had developed a good working relationship with City Council. [6]


Charlottesville's city council/manager form of government dates back to September 1, 1922. Three councilors were elected that year followed by two more in 1923. [7] Prior to that, Charlottesville had a strong-mayor form of government with a bicameral legislature consisting of a Board of Alderman and a Common Council. [8]

List of City Managers under current form of government

Name Term Start Term End
H. A. Yancey 1924 1931
Seth Burnley 1931 1948
James E. Bowen, interim 1948 1948
James E. Bowen 1948[9] 1970
Cole Hendrix 1971 1995[10]
Gary B. O'Connell 1995 2010
Maurice Jones December 6, 2010 July 31, 2018
Mike Murphy, interim July 2018 May 2019
Tarron Richardson May 13, 2019 September 30, 2020 [11] [12]
John Blair, acting October 1, 2020[13] February 12, 2021
Chip Boyles February 15, 2021 TBD

Previous Managers

John Blair era (September 2020 - February 2021)

As 2021 began, the city of Charlottesville is in "crisis" about how to fill the position. [14] [15]

Fractious search for Richardson's replacement

As 2021 began, Council's search for a new replacement broke down as the search firm hired quit after news broke that Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney refused to meet with the person who was running the process. [16] Ralph Andersen and Associates had been hired in the fall of 2019 soon after the resignation of Tarron Richardson in September 2019.

Meanwhile, a group of Charlottesville citizens led by Tanesha Hudson are calling on Council to bring Tarron Richardson back. [17] [18]

Tarron Richardson era (May 2019 to September 2020)

Tarron Richardson began work on May 13, 2019, resigned effective Sept 30, 2020[19][3]. Mike Murphy retired as Deputy City Manager in December 2019. [20] Soon after taking the post in May 2019, Dr. Tarron Richardson wanted to make changes. In July 2019, he reorganized departments and created an Operations Portfolio. At the City Council's retreat on July 31st, Richardson presented the previous organization structure and explained that the new structure would allow for "more efficient operations, a more centralized span of control, and the ability to answer inquiries in a timelier manner. " He also discussed the Compensation Study, noting "positions would be correctly categorized and named; and new employee salaries would not exceed tenured staff members." [21]

Interim deputy city manager, Leslie Beauregard announced she was leaving soon after the revamp and Richardson's arrival. [22]

There were other departures as well. Parks Director Brian Daly left the city in October 2019 and was replaced on an interim basis by Todd Brown.[23] Brown would later be named to the position on a permanent basis.

One of Richardson's first personnel decision was to seek a new deputy city manager position that would serve as a chief operating officer. [24]

In July, he named a new administrative team. Mike Murphy would remain as Deputy City Manager, overseeing services. Leslie Beauregard was made interim deputy city manager for finance and administration. Paul Oberdorfer was named interim deputy city manager for operations. All three were to report to Letitia Shelton, the deputy city manager and chief operating officer. [25]

In September 2019, Richardson announced at a budget work session that the city would explore building a new administrative center to consolidate school and general government offices. A request for proposals for a location and logistics study was released in mid-October, but canceled two days later.

Council held its first performance evaluation with Dr. Richardson on October 26, 2019 in a four-hour closed door work session. [26] Council grew concerned about Richardson's hiring of Shelton without community input. [27]

Richardson resigned on Sept 11 2020 (effective Sept 30, 2020).

City Manager's Office

Deputy City Manager of Services
Position previously held by Mike Murphy;

It is quite possible the structure listed below will not continue into the future after Richardson's departure.

Deputy City Manager and Chief Operating Officer
Letitia Shelton; July 2019 (announced last day of February 19, 2021)[28]
Deputy City Manager of Finance and Administration
Position previously held by Leslie Beauregard, interim
Deputy City Manager of Operations
Position previously held by Paul Oberdorfer; July 2019 to December 2020
Deputy City Manager for Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI)
(vacant) Not yet been filled
Under the direction of the City Manager, the Deputy City Manager for Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) would have been responsible for managing several key City Departments (Office of REDI, Office of Human Rights, Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, and the Police Civilian Review Board).[29]

Mike Murphy era (July 2018 - May 2019)

Maurice Jones era (April 2010 - July 2018)

2018 and 2019 search for a new manager

At one point, Council had hired Sidney C. Zemp to serve as interim manager, but he ultimately declined the position. [30]

Round One Interviews

Thirty-seven people applied for the position. Council held a special meeting on February 20, 2010 to interview candidates. [31]

Round Two Interviews

Council settled on three finalists who were to be interviewed on public on March 6, 2019. They were:[32]

Gary O'Connell era (November 1995 - April 2010 )

2010 Search for a new manager

Gary O'Connell stepped down as city manager in April 2010. After a search, three finalists were interviewed including Maurice Jones. The other two candidates were East Providence Rhode Island City Manager Richard Brown and Columbia Missouri Assistant City Manager Paula Hertwig Hopkins[34].

Cole Hendrix era (1971 - 1995)

James E. Bowen era (1948-1970)

In 1948, Bowen was both city director of finance and clerk of council when he was appointed acting city manager by the council to fill the unexpired term of Seth Burnley, who resigned to become city manager of Staunton. Council voted 3-1 to approve him finishing out Burnley's unexpired contract.

Councilor Gus K. Tebell voted against his appointment: “As a member of the committee to recommend a new city manager, I want to file this minority report. I do not believe the committee has fully considered enough applicants, nor looked far enough out-side the city…I believe the city manager should be an engineer and preferably…have considerable experience in the management field. If you appoint the director of finance, than both the office of manager and finance will be new to appointees."[9]


The position of City Manager and Engineer was provided for Charlottesville by ordinance in 1913. All the duties of an executive or administrative character which has been performed by several council committees under ordinance in force before the creation of the office of city manager were now required to be discharged exclusively by the City Manager, the committees acting in an advisory capacity. [35]


  1. Web. City Manager Job Description, Website, Villanova University, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  2. Web. Charlottesville City Council appoints new city manager, News Staff, News Article, CBS19, Charlottesville, Virginia, January 14, 2021, retrieved January 15, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Web. Charlottesville City Manager Richardson resigns after 16-month tenure, Blair appointed interim, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Sep 11, 2020, retrieved Jan 5, 2021.
  4. Web. Code of Ordinances | Charlottesville, VA | Municode Library, ARTICLE III. - CITY MANAGER, Municipal Code Corporation (Municode), retrieved January 9, 2021.
  6. Web. Boyles reflects on first four months as Charlottesville city manager, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, retrieved July 1, 2021.
  7. Web. McCue Bill Would Alter Election of Councilmen, Don Devore, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, January 23, 1960, retrieved January 10, 2021. Print. January 23, 1960 page 9.
  8. Print: Burrows Proposes New Bill for Vote on Annexation, , Daily Progress, Lindsay family February , 1960, Page .
  9. 9.0 9.1 Web. Bowen is Named Acting Manager by City Council, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, June 1, 1948, retrieved March 26, 2019 from University of Virginia Library. Print. June 1, 1948 page 1.
  10. Web. 1970-12-21, J.S. Rush, Jr., City of Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, December 21, 1970, retrieved March 26, 2019.
  11. Web. City manager search narrowed to three candidates, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, March 5, 2019, retrieved March 6, 2019.
  12. Web. Charlottesville City Manager Richardson resigns after 16-month tenure, Blair appointed interim, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, September 12, 2020, retrieved September 12, 2020.
  13. Web. Charlottesville City Manager Richardson resigns after 16-month tenure, Blair appointed interim, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, September 12, 2020, retrieved September 12, 2020.
  14. Web. Charlottesville City Council holds emergency session in wake of “leadership crisis”, Riley Wyant, News Article, WVIR NBC29, January 8, 2021, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  15. Web. ADDRESSING LEADERSHIP ISSUES, Carley Haynes, Video segment, CBS19 News, January 8, 2021, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  16. Web. January 5, 2021: Council suspends search for next Charlottesville City Manager, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, January 5, 2021, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  17. Web. Authors of petition to bring back Tarron Richardson gather at Charlottesville’s ‘Freedom Wall’, Max Marcila, News Article, WVIR NBC29, Charlottesville, Virginia, January 8, 2021, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  18. Web. Dr. Richardson Please Come Back!, JoJo Robertson, Petition, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  19. Web. Packet for March 6, 2019 public interviews of managerial candidates, March 5, 2019, retrieved March 6, 2019.
  20. Web. Deputy City Manager to step down Friday, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, retrieved December 7, 2019. Print. December 4, 2019 page A1.
  21. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, July 31, 2019.
  22. Web. Longtime city employee leaving after reorganization, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, August 16, 2019, retrieved October 27, 2019.
  23. Web. Brown tapped as interim city parks and recreation director, Staff Reports, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, November 1, 2019, retrieved November 3, 2019. Print. November 1, 2019 page A3.
  24. Web. City seeks to hire deputy manager, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, May 31, 2019, retrieved June 1, 2019.
  25. Web. Richardson details changes to city management, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, July 31, 2019, retrieved October 27, 2019.
  26. Web. City Council to meet Saturday to discuss city manager performance, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, October 26, 2019, retrieved October 27, 2019. Print. October 26, 2019 page A3.
  27. Web. Hiring of deputy city manager prompts proposed code change, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, November 29, 2019, retrieved November 30, 2019. Print. November 30, 2019 page A1.
  28. Web. Charlottesville's remaining deputy city manager resigns, CBS19 News, January 7th, 4:50 PM EST; Updated: January 7th, 8:06 PM EST, retrieved January 8, 2021.
  29. Web. Deputy City Manager for Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, JobSearcher, retrieved January 8, 2021.
  30. Web. ‘Leadership crisis’: City Council grappling with halt to city manager search, infighting, Charlotte Renee Woods, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 7, 2021, retrieved January 9, 2021.
  31. Web. Charlottesville Continues Search for New City Manager, Henry Graff, News Article, NBC29, February 20, 2019, retrieved February 24, 2019.
  33. Web. City manager search narrowed to three candidates, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, March 5, 2019, retrieved March 6, 2019.
  34. Web. New C'Ville City Manager Picked, NBC 29, retrieved November 23, 2010.
  35. Web. The American City, Volume 17, December 1917, retrieved June 8, 2016 from Google Books.
  36. Web. Financial Needs of Departments, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, August 8, 1922, retrieved March 26, 2019 from University of Virginia Library. Print. August 8, 1922 page 2.