Charlottesville City Council (History)
- Main article: Charlottesville City Council
The Charlottesville City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Charlottesville. Legislative powers are dependent on Virginia state laws and the city’s charter. Charlottesville incorporated as a town in 1801 and as a city in 1888. The title for the members of the city council has varied and several titles have existed according to local custom of the time. These titles are: councilor, councilmember, councilman, alderman, commissioner, freeholder or trustee. Council size has ranged from 5 to 12 members.
- 1 Current members
- 2 Past councils
The Charlottesville City Council consists of five members elected at-large, rather than by district, to serve four-year staggered terms. After the last election, the City Council appoints a Mayor and a Vice-Mayor from its own membership to serve a two-year term.
The councilors are elected by winner-take-all “at-large” city-wide voting, where, instead of using ward districts, all councilors must run “at large". At-Large block voting - also known as the "plurality-at-large voting method" - has been in place since the 1922 election. The president of the council and the vice-president are chosen by the council at the first regular meeting of the term. As of 2020, council members receive an annual salary of $18,000 for councilors and $20,000 for the mayor - not including fringe benefits, city-issued credit cards and discretionary spending funds. Charlottesville has one of the highest average salaries for council members in Virginia.
Regular council meetings are held in the City Hall on the first and third Monday of every month (except holidays), beginning at 4:00 p.m. (unless decided by special resolution) or otherwise stated in public notice. 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.
- President of the Council (called Mayor): Lloyd Snook.
- Vice President of the Council (called Vice Mayor): Juandiego Wade.
Sena Magill (D), member since January 2020; Seat: A, next election: November 7, 2023
Lloyd Snook (D), member since January 2020; Seat: B, next election: November 7, 2023
Michael Payne (D), member since January 2020; Seat: C, next election: November 7, 2023
Juandiego Wade (D), member since January 2022; Seat: D, next election: November 4, 2025
Brian Pinkston (D), member since January 2022; Seat: E, next election: November 4, 2025
The Code of Virginia states that governing bodies shall be composed of between three and eleven members. Charlottesville, as with most governing bodies in Virginia, has four-year terms of office. In Virginia, city and town councils are presided over by mayors who may be directly elected or, as with Charlottesville, chosen by the council. Counties are presided over by a chair of the board of supervisors.
Albemarle County was organized on December 31, 1744. Between 1744 and 1762, Scott’s Landing served as the county seat before the General Assembly divided up the county and relocated its county seat to Charlottesville. Charlottesville was chartered in 1762 to serve as the new county seat of Albemarle County along the Three Notch'd Road from Richmond to the Shenandoah Valley.
- Main article: Charlottesville Town Trustees
Charlottesville incorporated as a town on July 19, 1801. The Virginia General Assembly authorized and appointed a government of five trustees "who were to maintain streets, settle boundary disputes, authorize a market, quiet public nuisances, appoint a town clerk, and collect taxes to no more than $200." Number of councilmen per number of constituents:
Chapter 100 - An ACT to appoint additional Trustees for the Town of Charlottesville. (Passed January 15, 1816) The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia appointed additional Trustees for the Town of Charlottesville “Whereas the Trustees of the Town of Charlottesville, in the county of Albemarle, are so reduced, by death, resignations and removals, that there is not a sufficient number to proceed to business; by which the improvements and regulations of the said Town are much obstructed; for remedy whereof,…in John Kelly, John H. Craven, John Winn, Twyman Waytt, James Leitch, Nicholas Lewis, William Watson, Joseph Bishop, John R. Jones, John C. Ragland, Frank Carr and Alexander Garrett…appointed additional Trustees.”
1854-1870 (Mayor & Council)
- Main article: Charlottesville Town Council (1854-1870)
On February 25, 1854, the town of Charlottesville held its first municipal election of a mayor and four aldermen to serve for the ensuing year. The election was held at the Courthouse of Albemarle County, the fourth Saturday of the month. Drury Wood, who received 75 votes for mayor, was the winner. Seven months later Wood quit, and his post went to council president R.T.W. Duke and then to alderman John B. Dodd. Dodd won election as mayor in his own right in 1855 but soon quit again and was replaced by Wood. A year later, Wood re-resigned and was replaced by Eugene Davis.
- An ACT, passed by the General Assembly on May 31, 1851, granted the municipal authorities of the town of Charlottesville to consist of a Mayor and a four member Board of Aldermen, who were elected annually on the fourth Saturday in February "by the free white male inhabitants of twenty-one years of age and upwards...four persons, being freeholders, as aldermen, and one other person, being a free holder, as mayor, to serve as the council for one year, and until their successors are elected and qualified." 
At the close of the Civil War, town and university officials surrendered to Union generals Philip H. Sheridan and George Custer on March 3, 1865. Union forces initially occupied Charlottesville for three days. Following Lee’s surrender a month later, the town came under the jurisdiction of the Army of the James, and the new occupation force consisted of a regiment of Pennsylvania cavalry.
After the end of the Civil War, Virginia came briefly under military rule during Reconstruction, with the district commanded by John M. Schofield. Pursuant to federal Reconstruction legislation, Schofield called for a new constitutional convention to meet in Richmond from December 1867 to April 1868. Virginia's new Constitution was ratified by a popular vote and went into effect in 1870. Significant provisions included expanding the suffrage to all male citizens over the age of twenty-one, which included freedmen.
|Mayor||Year||Board of Aldermen|
|President||Seat 1||Seat 2||Seat 3||Seat 4||Seat 5||Seat 6|
|Drury Wood||1854||Office did not exist||R. W. T. Duke||John B. Dodd||Andrew J. Brown||William M. Keblinger||Office did not exist||Office did not exist|
|John B. Dodd||1855||Robert S. Jones||Patrick Martin||Julius Munday||Oswald S. Allen|
|Drury Wood||1856||James Lobban||James A. Leitch||Eugene Davis||J. C. R. Taylor|
|James A. Leitch||1857||William T. Early||George McIntire||William H. Foster||Tekel W. Savage|
|William T. Early||1858||Tekel W. Savage||John Wood, Jr.||Robert A. Trice||William H. Foster|
|Thomas Wood||1859||Thomas J. Wertenbaker||John H. Bibb||Edward. J. Timberlake||A . P. Terrell|
|1860||Edward. J. Timberlake||A. P. Terrell||John H. Bibb||S. M. Keller|
|1861||John H. Bibb||Edward. J. Timberlake||Alexander P. Abel||Thomas J. Wertenbaker|
|George Carr||1862||A. H. Maupin||Thomas Wood|
|John H. Bibbs||1863||George McIntire||James Alexander||Christopher L. Fowler||Thomas J. Wertenbaker|
|George McIntire||1864||James Alexander||Thomas J. Wertenbaker||Shelton Leake||Christopher L. Fowler||A. Robert McKee||Edward. J. Timberlake|
|Christopher L. Fowler||1865||Edward. J. Timberlake||R. F. Harris||George McIntire||Dr. E. S. H. Wise||Samuel Benson||James Alexander|
|1866||R. F. Harris||Alexander P. Abell||Joseph W. Lipop||Dr. R. B. Nelson|
|1867||N. Hardin Massie||William A. Watkin|
|T. W. Savage||1868||John Thornley||Samuel W. Allen||C. L. Thompson||Charles Lucas||Allen Bacon|
|1869||Allen Bacon||George Sutler|
|N. M. Massie||1870||Alexander P. Abell||Joseph W. Lipop||W. C. N. Randolph||T. F. Wingfield||Alexander P. Abell||R. F. Harris|
1870-1889 (Mayor & Board of Aldermen)
- Main article: Charlottesville Town Council (1870-1889)
Before the 1888 Annexation, Charlottesville's population in 1880 was about 2,676. According to the 1890 Census, the city's population was 5,591 - a 108.93% increase during the decade. Number of councilmen per number of constituents ranged from in 1880 to in 1889.
In accordance with Virginia's new Constitution (1870), a five member Board of Aldermen elected William L. Conchran to serve as Mayor of the Corporate town of Charlottesville on July 4, 1970. A committee was formed to meet with the former mayor to obtain town records and property. In 1871, under Charlottesville's new charter, approved by the General Assembly on March 28, 1871, the municipal authorities of "The Town of Charlottesville" consisted of a mayor and six alderman, who were elected annually by "qualified voters" on the fourth Saturday of June.
|Council of the Town of Charlottesville|
|Mayor||Year||Board of Aldermen|
|President||Seat A||Seat B||Seat C||Seat D||Seat E||Seat F||Seat G||Seat H||Seat I||Seat J|
|William L. Cochran ‡||1870||Joseph Norris||W. C. N. Randolph||R. F. Harris||Joseph Norris||B. Obendoffer||Bennet Taylor||Samuel Comer||Office did not exist||Office did not exist||Office did not exist||Office did not exist|
|1872||C. D. Fishburne||S. V. Southall||J. H. Bowman|
|1873||R. F. Harris||John McKevers||R. F. Harris||Spottswood M. Keller||J. W. Lipop||C. H. Harman|
|1874||R. W. Nelson||John Lewis|
|1875||R. W. Nelson||B. Obendoffer|
|R. F. Harris||1876||C. D. Fishburne|
|1877||D. H. Stern|
|B. R. Pace||1881||C. D. Fishburne||M. Trieber||John West|
|R. F. Harris||1883||C. D. Fishburne||M. B. Heller||R. C. Vandegrift||W. C. Payne||C. H. Harman||W. O. Fry|
|1886||C. H. Harman|
|1887||C. D. Fishburne||Moses Leterman|
|1888||Samuel B. Woods||E. E. Dinwiddie||Samuel B. Woods||John L. Walters||Thomas W. Bailey|
|Samuel B. Woods||1889||C. D. Fishburne||A. Wingfield||John L. Cochran|
1889-1900 (Mayor & Common Council)
- Main article: Charlottesville City Council (1889-1900)
Charlottesville incorporated as a city on September 1st 1888. Under the first city charter, granted by the Legislature, Charlottesville City Council consisted of the Mayor, elected at-large, and twelve Aldermen who were elected from respective wards. The city was divided into four wards, with three councilmen elected from each one by plurality vote. The Council President presided over the City Council in the Mayor's absence. Number of councilmen per number of constituents ranged from in 1889 to over in 1900.
Ten member of the "old" Board of Aldermen (elected at-large in 1886) held office until June 13, 1889. Twelve members of the "new" city council were elected by qualified voters of the four council wards (districts) of the City of Charlottesville in May 1889 and took over the legislative branch of the government on June 13, 1889. As council members, they represented the concerns, needs, and issues of their constituents (respective wards). The last election under that system was held in 1900.
|Mayor||Year||President||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward|
|Samuel Woods||1889||C. D. Fishburne||Alonzo Wingfield||L. T. Hanckel||C. D. Fishburne||Thomas M. Bailey||George Perkings||H. T. Nelson||James Perley||C. D. Carter||G. W. Spooner||John W. Coflin||B. F. Grove||J. M. Murphy|
|1890||L. T. Hanckel||A. D. Cox||J. E. Gleason|
|1891||W. C. N. Randolph||F. M. Wells||W. J. Tyson||J. L. Cochran Jr.||A. N. Peyton|
|L. T. Hanckel||1892||H. T. Nelson||C. D. Fishburne||J. S. McCue||A. D. Payne|
|1893||W. J. Tyson||M. Leterman||J. H. Nalls||John S. Patton|
|John S. Patton||1894||W. A. Melborn|
|1895||B. F. Grove|
|J. Samuel McCue||1896||W. J. Keller||A. D. Payne||F. M. Huyett||F. C. Fitzhugh||J. M. Murphy||John S. Patton|
|1897||Frank Pearce Farish|
|1898||W. J. Keller||G. W. Olivier|
|1899||Eldridge Turner||G. D. Payne||J. L. Walters||W. A. Melborn||J. L. Cochran Jr.|
|1900||J. E. Gleason|
1900-1916 (Mayor & Council)
- Main article: Charlottesville City Council (1900-1916)
The second charter organized the City of Charlottesville under a mayor-council government (approved March 3, 1900). The 1900 charter and mayor-council form of government remained in place until it was superseded by the 1922 charter.
Under an ordinance passed by the council, the city's form of government changed on September 1, 1913, whereby the Mayor also became the city's Business Manager, elected as such for one year, and re-elected at the end of that time for two years. All duties of an executive or administrative character, which had previously been performed by several council committees under ordinances, which were in force before the creation of the new office, were then required to be discharged exclusively by a Municipal Business Manager, the committees acting in an advisory capacity.
The city council, elected June 13, 1916, held their last meeting on September 14, 1916.
|City Council||Business Manager|
|Mayor||Year||President||Vice President||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward|
|J. Samuel McCue||1900||Moses Leterman||Office did not exist||W. J. Tyson||L. W. Graves||George E. Walker||A. D. Payne||M. Leterman||Dr. H. T. Nelson||W. A. Lankford||J. F. Harlan||Henry D. Jarman||Col. Henry M. Lewis||J. M. Murphy||John S. Patton||Office did not exist|
|Charles W. Allen||1901||W. A. Perley|
|J. Samuel McCue||1902||G. W. Olivier|
|George W. Olivier||1904||Judge R. T. W. Duke||Henry D. Jarman||Judge R. T. W. Duke||W. F. Long||C. S. Venable||F. W. Twyman||J. E. Harrison||Edward Lawman||A. D. Dabney||R. W. Holsinger|
|1905||W. E. Fowler||J. P. Ellington|
|1906||F. W. Twyman||R. W. Holsinger||W. Rice Barksdale||W. P. Lipscomb||J. E. Early||B. W. Leterman||A. C. Brechin||A. G. Carter|
|1907||A. Goodloe||H. R. Hawkins||James E. Gleason||H. M. Lewis|
|E. G. Haden||1908||E. A. Balz||H. W. Tribble||E. A. Balz||John S. Patton|
|1909||O. E. Driscoll||H. R. Hawkins|
|1910||R. W. Holsinger||J. H. Montague||C. W. Hulfish||L. T. Hanckel Jr.||F. M. Huyett||Henry D. Jarman||J. H. Montague|
|1911||Thos. J. Michie|
|A. V. Conway||1912||H. D. Jarman||W. Rrice Barksdale||Thomas J. Michie||F. M. Huyett||E. A. Joachim||J. H. Montague||J. P. Ellington||M. V. Pence|
|1913||A. V. Conway|
|1914||W. Rice Barksdale||S. A. Birch||R. (Bob) C. Walker||W. E. Graves||W. F. Sounder, Jr.|
|1916||J. P. Ellington||Marshall Timberlake||W. D. Harris||John S. Patton||F. W. Twyman|
1916-1922 (Mayor & Bicameral Council)
- Main article: Charlottesville City Council (1916-1922)
According to the Fourteenth Census, taken as of January 1, 1920, the population of Charlottesville was 10,688, which represents an increase of 3,923, or 58 percent since 1910. During the same period the population of Albemarle County decreased by 13 percent, while the population of Virginia increased by 12 percent. Number of councilmen per number of constituents ranged from in 1900 to over in 1920.
Between 1916 and 1922, Charlottesville's legislative government consisted of a two chamber city council. Not unlike the current Virginia General Assembly, the city council was composed of a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Board of Aldermen, with 4 members, and an upper house, the Common Council, with 8 members. Each member was elected from one of the four wards and serving staggered two-year terms. The Board of Aldermen was presided over by a member elected president, while the Common Council was presided over by a member elected president. The Mayor of the City of Charlottesville was an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch. The Mayor was popularly elected every two years by plurality-at-large voting. The mayor, when present, presided over the joint meetings of the council, and in his absence, the president of the Board of Aldermen presided. The mayor had no vote in the council, except in the case of a tie, when he gave the casting vote.
On August 1, 1916, the city's the population exceeded 10,000 following the annexation of over 2,500 acres of Albemarle county territory and suburbs surrounding the city. As a result, Charlottesville became a city of the first-class and according to the the Virginia Constitution of 1902, the city's Legislative government was required to consist of a divided government.
A special election was held on September 20, 1916 (3rd Tuesday in June) to elect members of the new city government as prescribed by general State law for a city of the first-class. The Board of Alderman held regular meetings the 2nd Monday of every month. The Common Council held regular meetings the 2nd Thursday of every month. The last regular monthly meeting of the Common Council was held on August 10, 1922.
|Mayor||Year||Board of Aldermen (Upper House)||Common Council (Lower House)||City Manger|
|President||Vice President||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward||President||Vice President||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward|
|E. Geury Haden||1916||R. C. Walker||M. Timberlake||M. Timberlake||R. C. Walker||W. D. Harris||Albert S. Bolling||W. F. Sounder Jr.||W. M. Forrest||W. F. Long||N. T. Wingfield||W. E. Graves||W. T. Elliott||W. F. Sounder Jr.||J. E. Gleason||Fred W. Twyman||W. M. Forrest||A. V. Conway|
|1917||H. A. Stecker|
|1918||B. E. Wheeler||W. M. Forrest||Lemuel F. Smith||L. F. Smith||F. M. Huyett||W. N. Via||Lacy L. Irvine|
|1919||Fred W. Twyman||Shelton S. Fife|
|B. E. Wheeler||1920||G. T. Greaver||John S. Patton||L. R. Whitten||L. R. Whitten||J. P. Ellington||J. T. Greaves||Walter Washabaugh|
|1921||E. G. Haden||E. G. Haden||J. E. Greaver|
|W. M. Forrest||1922||John R. Morris||F. L. Watson||Fred H. Quarles|
- Main article: Charlottesville City Commission
Under a new charter, granted by the Legislature in 1920, the city was governed under a "Modified Commission Form" of city municipal government. The council was composed of a three members commission serving two-year terms. The council appoints the City Manager and one of their own to act as Mayor. The first election under that system was held on June 13, 1922 and the last on June 8, 1926. The first session ran from September 1, 1922 to August 31, 1924. The last session ran from September 1, 1926 to August 31, 1928 which was the last year this ward system was in use. Number of councilmen per number of constituents ranged from over in 1900 to under in 1928.
Under a new charter, granted by the Legislature in 1920, the city was governed under a "Modified Commission Form" of city municipal government organized in accordance with the act of March 24, 1922. The council was composed of a three members commission serving two-year terms. The executive authority, in the management of the ministerial affairs of the city, was in a city manager elected by the council. Beginning July 1, 1928, the council was increased to five members serving staggered four-year terms under an amended charter.
|Session||Election||Year||Commission (City Council)||City Manager|
|President (Mayor)||Vice President (Vice Mayor)||Seat A||Seat B||Seat C||Seat D||Seat E|
|(1922-1924)||1922||1922||John R. Morris||E. A. Joachim||John R. Morris||E. A. Joachim||Jury Y. Brown||Office did not exist||Office did not exist||Boyd A. Bennett|
|(1924-1926)||1924||1924||Jury Y. Brown||John R. Morris|
|1925||H. A. Yancey|
|(1926-1928)||1926||1926||Jury Y. Brown|
1928–present (Council & Manager)
On June 12, 1928, (the second Tuesday of June), voters in the City of Charlottesville went to the polls to elect five members to the City Council. Under the 1928 charter amendment, the new council would consist of five members, rather than a three; the council would continue to appoint the City Manager and one of their own to act as the City Mayor. Number of councilors per number of constituents has ranged from in 1928 to in 2020.
There were five new seats on the Charlottesville City Council in 1928 election. As outlined by the 1922 charter, the three elected councilmen receiving the highest number of votes held office for four years (Seats A, B, and C); the two elected councilmen receiving the next highest number of votes, held office for two years (Seats C and E).
After the 1930 election, the term of office has been four years for each member - seats designated A, B and C are elected in one year; seats designated D and E are elected two years later. Subsequently, there is a year without a council election. Council members are elected at large under a first-past-the-post voting system in which the top vote-getters are seated.
From 1972 until 2006, City Council elections were held in May of even-numbered years. Since 2007, City Council elections have been held in November of odd-numbered years. If Primaries are held, they are in June of the same year.
- https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.a0001803337&view=1up&seq=178&q1=Charlottesville #178
- Web. Acts passed at a General Assembly of the Commonwealth ... 1870/71., 2020-02-13 22:28 UTC
- Web. City Democratic Committee Meeting, Daily Progress, Friday May 17, 1907