Sandbox-Charlottesville City Council
Charlottesville City Council (History)
The Charlottesville City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Charlottesville. With a population (2020) of 47,169 people, from which 93.5% are citizens, Charlottesville is the 22nd largest city in Virginia. Its physical area — 10.442 square miles — has remained the same since the 1988.
The council is composed of 5 members elected by winner-take-all “at-large” voting, where, instead of using ward districts, all council 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.
- 1 Current members
- 2 Past councils
- 2.1 1801-1851 (Trustees, at-large/assigned)
- 2.2 1851-1871 (Common Council, at-large)
- 2.3 1871-1888 (Common Council, wards)
- 2.4 1888-1913 (Board of Aldermen and Common Council, wards)
- 2.5 1913-1916 (Board of Aldermen, wards; Business Manager/Mayor, at-large)
- 2.6 1901-1916 (Mayor-Board of Aldermen, wards)
- 2.7 1916-1922 (Bicameral, wards/assigned)
- 2.8 1922-1928 (Modified Commission)
- 2.9 1928–present (Council-Manager)
In Charlottesville's weak-mayor system, the mayor has no formal authority outside the council. The mayor cannot directly appoint or remove officials, and lacks veto power over council votes. As such, the mayor's influence is solely based on personality in order to accomplish desired goals. The council has legislative and executive authority. With no veto power, the mayor is not the chief executive, the council can prevent the mayor from supervising city administration. The council appointed manager, while exercising much power, is not directly accountable to the voters.
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.
1922-1928 (Modified Commission)
Under the 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 city of Charlottesville had a commission form of government organized in accordance with the act of March 24, 1922. Its functions were vested in a council of three, elected from the people at large. 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. On June 12, 1928, the second Tuesday of June, voters in Charlottesville went to the polls to elect five members to the City Council. Under the 1928 charter amendment, the council consisted of five members.
1801-1851 (Trustees, at-large/assigned)
- Main article: Charlottesville Town Council (1801-1851)
1851-1871 (Common Council, at-large)
1871-1888 (Common Council, wards)
- Main article: Charlottesville Common Council (1871-1888)
1888-1913 (Board of Aldermen and Common Council, wards)
- Main article: Charlottesville City Council (1888-1916)
1913-1916 (Board of Aldermen, wards; Business Manager/Mayor, at-large)
1901-1916 (Mayor-Board of Aldermen, wards)
The last regular meeting of the new City Council, elected June 13, 1916 was held the evening of September 14, 1916.
|Mayor||Year||President of the Council||Vice President of the Council||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward|
|Seat A||Seat B||Seat C||Seat A||Seat B||Seat C||Seat A||Seat B||Seat C||Seat A||Seat B||Seat C|
|J. Samuel McCue||1900||Moses Leterman||Vacant||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|
|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||R. T. W. Duke, Jr.||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|
|A. V. Conway||1912||H. D. Jarman||W. Rrice Barksdale||Thomas J. Michie||Edward A. Joachim||M. V. Pence|
|1914||W. Rice Barksdale||Edward A. Joachim||W. E. Graves||R. C. Walker||W. F. Sounder, Jr.|
|1915||S. A. Birch|
|E. G. Haden||1916||Edward A. Joachim||J. P. Ellington||Marshall Timberlake||Robert A. Watson||F. W. Twyman|
- Main article: Charlottesville City Council (1913-1916)
1916-1922 (Bicameral, wards/assigned)
The first election was held on September 20, 1916 when four Aldermen and eight members of the common Council were elected to compose the legislative department of the city, under the general State law. Meetings: Board of Alderman regular meetings were held the 2nd Monday of every month. The Mayor held veto power.
|Mayor||Year||Board of Aldermen||Common Council||City Manger|
|President||Vice President||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward||First Ward||Second Ward||Third Ward||Fourth Ward|
|E. G. Haden||1916||R. C. Walker||M. Timberlake||M. Timberlake||R. C. Walker||W. D. Harris||Albert S. Bolling||W. F. Long||N. T. Wingfield||W. E. Graves||W. T. Elliott||W. F. Sounder, Jr.||J. E. Gleason||F. W. Twyman||W. M. Forrest||A. V. Conway|
|1917||H. A. Stecker|
|1918||B. E. Wheeler||L. F. Smith||F. M. Huyett||W. N. Via|
|1920||John S. Patton||Walter Washabaugh|
|B. E. Wheeler||1921||E. G. Haden||E. G. Haden||J. E. Greaver|
|W. M. Forrest||1922||Boyd A. Bennett|
1922-1928 (Modified Commission)
First election held on June 13, 1922. First Session ran from September 1, 1922 to August 31, 1924. Last election held on June 8, 1926, last term ran from September 1, 1926 to August 31, 1928.
|Session||Election||Year||President||Vice President||Council Members||City Manager|
|(1922-1924)||1922||1922||John R. Morris||E. A. Joachim||John R. Morris||E. A. Joachim||Jury Y. Brown||Vacant .||Vacant .||Boyd A. Bennett|
|(1924-1926)||1924||1924||Jury Y. Brown||John R. Morris|
|1925||H. A. Yancey|
|(1926-1928)||1926||1926||Jury Y. Brown|
Since July 1, 1928, the City of Charlottesville has been governed by a five member city council elected at-large to designated seats on a non-partisan basis. The council members are elected for four-year terms. The Council members seats designated A, B and C are elected in one year, the Council members in the seats designated D and E are elected two years later. Subsequently, there is a year without a council election. The City Council appoints the City Manager and one of their own to act as Mayor. Council members are elected at large under a first-past-the-post voting system, in which the top vote-getters were seated. The first election under the Council-Manager system was held on June 11, 1946. Regular terms began on July 1 of even-numbered years until 2006 and by ordinance on January 1 of even-numbered years starting with 2008.
Regular terms begin on September 1 of even-numbered years until xxxx; July 1 of even-numbered years until xxxx; January 1 of even-numbered years until 2007 and currently on January 1 of odd-numbered years.
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.