Sandbox-Charlottesville City Council

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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.

Current members

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.

Officers:

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.

Past councils

1801-1851 (Trustees, at-large/assigned)

Main article: Charlottesville Town Council (1801-1851)

1851-1871 (Common Council, at-large)

Main article: Charlottesville Common Council (1851-1871)
Main article: Charlottesville Mayor-council form of government"

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
1903
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
1911
A. V. Conway 1912 H. D. Jarman W. Rrice Barksdale Thomas J. Michie Edward A. Joachim M. V. Pence
1913
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
A B A B A B A B
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
1919
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
A B C D E
(1922-1924) 1922 1922 John R. Morris E. A. Joachim John R. Morris E. A. Joachim Jury Y. Brown Vacant . Vacant . Boyd A. Bennett
1923
(1924-1926) 1924 1924 Jury Y. Brown John R. Morris
1925 H. A. Yancey
(1926-1928) 1926 1926 Jury Y. Brown
1927

1928–present (Council-Manager)

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.

Session Election Year President Vice President Council Members City Manager
A B C D E
(1928-1930) 1928 1928 Jury Y. Brown Fred L. Watson Fred L. Watson Jury Y. Brown E. A. Joachim John R. Morris Fred W. Twyman [‡] H. A. Yancey
1929 Seth Burnley
(1930-1932) 1930 1930 W. Dan Haden
1931
(1932-1934) 1932 1932 Fred W. Twyman W. Dan Haden Shelton S. Fife George T. Huff Sam Jessup
1933
(1934-1936) 1934 1934 W. Dan Haden Sam Jessup
1935
(1936-1938) 1936 1936 George T. Huff J. Emmett Gleason
1937
(1938-1940) 1938 1938 George T. Huff J. Emmett Gleason
1939 F. Bradley Peyton Jr [a]
(1940-1942) 1940 1940 W. Dan Haden Charles P. Nash Jr [b]
1941
(1942-1944) 1942 1942 J. Emmett Gleason Charles P. Nash Jr Roscoe S. Adams Sam A. Morris
1943 Roscoe S. Adams Fred L. Watson [c]
(1944-1946) 1944 1944 Roscoe S. Adams Sam A. Morris W. S. Hildreth [d]
1945 Charles P. Nash [e]
(1946-1948) 1946 1946 Gus K. Tebell Gus K. Tebell
1947
(1948-1950) 1948 1948 Gus K. Tebell Strother F. Hamm Strother F. Hamm Henry A. Haden James Barr [f]
1949 James E. Bowen
(1950-1952) 1950 1950 Strother F. Hamm William R. Hill William R. Hill [h]
1951 Sol B. Weinberg [g]
(1952-1954) 1952 1952 William R. Hill Sol B. Weinberg R. M. Davis S. Dexter Forbes
1953
(1954-1956) 1954 1954 Sol B. Weinberg R. M. Davis Thomas J. Michie [j]
1955
(1956-1958) 1956 1956 R. M. Davis Thomas J. Michie A. Clayton Coleman Louis L. Scribner [i]
1957
(1958-1960) 1958 1958 Thomas J. Michie Louis L. Scribner
1959
(1960-1962) 1960 1960 Louis L. Scribner Bernard J. Haggerty Bernard J. Haggerty Lindsey B. Mount Robert E. Lee
1961
(1962-1964) 1962 1962 Bernard J. Haggerty Lindsey B. Mount J. Robert Ponton [k]
1963
(1964-1966) 1964 1964 Lindsey B. Mount J. Robert Ponton Burkett A. Reynolds
1965
(1966-1968) 1966 1966 Burkett A. Reynolds Robert S. Johnson Robert S. Johnson [l] "Dutch" Vogt
1967 "Dutch" Vogt Bill Rinehart [m] [*]
(1968-1970) 1968 1968 "Dutch" Vogt Bill Rinehart Joseph W. Wright Jr. Kenneth E. Davis Mitch Van Yahres
1969
(1970-1972) 1970 1970 Mitchell Van Yahres Francis H. Fife Francis H. Fife [**] Charles Barbour
1971
(1972-1974) 1972 1972 Francis H. Fife Charles Barbour George Gilliam Jill Rinehart [*]
1973
(1974-1976) 1974 1974 Charles Barbour Mitch Van Yahres
1975
(1976-1978) 1976 1976 Nancy K. O'Brien Francis H. Fife Laurence Brunton Ed Gatewood Nancy K. O'Brien [**]
1977
(1978-1980) 1978 1978 Laurence Brunton Ed Gatewood Frank Buck Thomas E. Albro
1979
(1980-1982) 1980 1980 Frank Buck Elizabeth Gleason Elizabeth Gleason John Conover E. G. Hall
1981
(1982-1984) 1982 1982 John Conover Mary Alice Gunter
1983
(1984-1986) 1984 1984 Elizabeth Gleason Lindsay Barnes
1985
(1986-1988) 1986 1986 E. G. Hall Darden Towe
1987
(1988-1990) 1988 1988 "Bitsy" Waters Alvin Edwards "Bitsy" Waters Alvin Edwards Tom Vandever
1989
(1990-1992) 1990 1990 Alvin Edwards Tom Vandever Kay Slaughter David Toscano
1991
(1992-1994) 1992 1992 Tom Vandever Kay Slaughter Virginia Daugherty
1993
(1994-1996) 1994 1994 David Toscano Gary O'Connell
1995
(1996-1998) 1996 1996 Kay Slaughter Virginia Daugherty Maurice Cox Meredith Richards
1997
(1998-2000) 1998 1998 Virginia Daugherty Meredith Richards Blake Caravati
1999
(2000-2002) 2000 2000 Blake Caravati Maurice Cox Kevin Lynch
2001
(2002-2003) 2002 2002 Maurice Cox Meredith Richards Rob Schilling
2003
(2004-2006) 2004 2004 David Brown Kevin Lynch Kendra Hamilton David Brown
2005
(2006-2007) 2006 2006 Julian Taliaferro Dave Norris Julian Taliaferro
2007
(2008-2009) 2007 2008 Dave Norris Kendra Hamilton Satyendra Huja Holly Edwards
2009
(2010-2011) 2009 2010 Holly Edwards Kristin Szakos Maurice Jones
2011
(2012-2013) 2011 2012 Satyendra Huja Kristin Szakos Kathy Galvin “Dede” Smith
2013
(2014-2015) 2013 2014 “Dede” Smith Bob Fenwick
2015
(2016-2017) 2015 2016 Mike Signer Wes Bellamy Wes Bellamy Mike Signer
2017
(2018-2019) 2017 2018 Nikuyah Walker Heather Hill Nikuyah Walker Heather Hill Mike Murphy
2019 Tarron Richardson
(2020-2021) 2019 2020 Sena Magill Sena Magill Lloyd Snook Michael Payne John Blair
2021 Chip Boyles
(2022-2023) 2021 2022 Lloyd Snook Juandiego Wade Juandiego Wade Brian Pinkston Michael C. Rogers
2023
(2024-2025) 2023 2024
2025
Session Election Year President Vice-president A B C D E City Manager
Members