A STATEMENT FROM CHARLOTTESVILLE CITY COUNCIL
Over the past week, City Council has held several closed sessions to discuss the state of the organization. We know that this has caused much speculation as to the reasons for these meetings and what is to come from them. Today we are announcing that Mr. John Blair will be leaving the City of Charlottesville effective March 5, 2021 having accepted a position as City Attorney in the City of Staunton. Mr. Blair’s final day as Acting City Manager will be February 12, 2021. Mr. Blair has served the city faithfully and diligently and we offer nothing but our sincerest thanks for his service in these challenging times for our city. We wish him the best in his career.
With this, we would like to announce that Mr. Chip Boyles has agreed to join the organization as City Manager. After carefully balancing the needs of the city at this current time, we are offering Mr. Boyles the City Manager position with the goal of stabilizing the organization and rebuilding the leadership team within City Hall. Mr. Boyles, age 58, has served as Assistant City Manager and City Manager in the cities of Taneytown, Maryland; Hardeeville, South Carolina; and Clemson, South Carolina. Prior to most recently serving seven years as the Executive Director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission here in Charlottesville, Mr. Boyles was the Urban Development Director in the Mayor’s Office of the City/Parish of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mr. Boyles comes with Council’s full support in taking all necessary actions to stabilize the organization and create the quality local government our community deserves. Once the organization is stabilized, Council anticipates launching a public search process for hiring a City Manager, likely in 2022.
Over the past several months, city government has experienced significant turnover, uncertainty, and instability. This has occurred at a time when our community is facing historic challenges created by a global pandemic, economic instability, and the need to address long-standing inequities within our community.
City Council must directly confront the causes of the instability within city government. We did not end up in this situation overnight. We will not get out of it overnight. The central task facing City Council over the next year is to work with the City Manager’s Office to rebuild stability and assemble a leadership team that applies professional, stable governance to the many issues facing our community. That is the foundation of serving our community and implementing sound public policy, and that foundation is cracked.
Today is only the beginning of this work. Over the coming months, Council must take additional actions to change the dynamics within City Hall and create an environment of mission-driven teamwork, collaboration, and trust.
Council must acknowledge its central role in creating the instability within city government. We will need to establish, and adhere to, clear procedures, expectations, and norms that govern how Council conducts business among itself, runs meetings, communicates with the City Manager’s Office and city staff, and prioritizes public policy. City government is filled with dedicated public servants who work daily to serve our community; it is City Council’s responsibility to show leadership and make the changes necessary to create an environment where city staff are empowered to lead the organization and execute Council’s policy priorities. Our community needs leadership, and Council must rise to the occasion.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to all those who have stepped forward to offer their support, experience, and knowledge to our city during this moment of crisis. It highlights our greatest asset -- our city’s dedicated staff, public servants, and community members. It will require our collective wisdom and efforts to support our local government in the task of creating the just, resilient, and equitable community we can and will be.