More Mo: Jones in as city manager

news-maurice-jonesMaurice Jones elbowed out 80 other candidates to take the top city job.
PHOTO BY LISA PROVENCE

After a four-month job search that drew over 80 applicants from all over the country, City Council went with the tried and true and picked Maurice Jones, the acting city manager, to become Charlottesville's CEO.

Former NBC29 sports reporter Jones has spent much of his career at City Hall, starting as director of communications in the late '90s, a position he held for six years. After a stint at the Miller Center, where he served as director of development, Jones came back to Charlottesville as assistant city manager under Gary O'Connell, who left the city manager slot open earlier this year when he took a job with the Albemarle County Service Authority.

Although speculation swirled that Jones was the top pick earlier this week, it wasn't until Friday that the city officially announced that Jones will take the $170K-a-year position.

How big a role did being ensconced in the home court play? "It certainly gave me an advantage," says Jones.

Despite his insider status, Jones getting the job wasn't a done deal, according to Mayor Dave Norris. "Some may have assumed he had it in the bag and we were just going through the motions," says Norris, but that wasn't the case.

"Where it crystallized was in the interview," says the mayor. "He nailed it. He had command of the issues." And Council's decision to hire Jones was unanimous, adds Norris.

"He genuinely cares about people," says O'Connell, when asked what Jones' best quality is for leading the city. "He knows lots of people in the community and he knows the issues."

O'Connell is reluctant to offer advice to his successor, but when pressed, says, "My only advice is he help us find a solution to the water supply situation." The city and county have been divided on a long-term water supply plan, but O'Connell says he believes they're close.

And O'Connell repeats what his own predecessor, Cole Hendrix, told him: "Until you sit in that chair, you don't know what it's like. I believe he's well-qualified to handle it and I wish him the best."

When O'Connell announced that he was leaving the city manager job, Jones was not one of the first to send in his resume. "I took my time to apply," he says. "I wanted to give myself time to see if this was something I could do."

As the father of three young children, Jones says his soul searching was both professional and personal.

And the biggest factor preparing him in his arc from sports reporter to city manager? "What opened the door for me was being director of communications," says Jones, 40. And when he returned back to city government two years ago, Jones began more seriously preparing himself for a position he hadn't really foreseen that he would ever hold, he says.

Longtime civil rights advocate Eugene Williams didn't foresee that either, for a different reason. "There are those of us that didn't think we'd ever live to see the day that Charlottesville would have a black city manager," says Williams, who was instrumental in integrating the city's schools.

City Council formally adopted Jones' contract at its December 6 meeting after an endorsment from Mayor Norris and tear-choked comment from Councilor Holly Edwards, the latter of whom hailed Jones a role-model for schoolchildren and a new beginning for the City.

And for Jones, he's already rolling up his sleeves to work on the long-term water supply and the perennial priority of the city manager: putting together a budget.

"I am blessed to live in this community," said Jones. "Thank you very much– let's get to work."

Updated 4:15pm with Eugene Williams' remarks.
Updated 4:40pm with Gary O'Connell's comments.
Updated 8:41pm with Jones' and Edwards' comments.

105 comments

Although final costs for the City Manager search by the search firm are not in, the total package approved by Council for recruitment (personnel and expenses) was $22,300.

Skimming over these posts I see that a few think Mo received the job either because he is black or because he is "bestest buds" with the other members. Could it possibly be that he understands how the city works and has working relationships with other members of the community? Could it be that he is capable of learning and could have fresh ideas that are not the standard thinking process of other city managers?
Give the man a chance instead of trying to b-rate his credentials , ethnicity, and intelligence.
Good luck Mr. Jones.

Well no finance, no management, no legal, no public policy.....experience. This sounds like Cville is in
the class with Newport News and Norfolk with social
promotions. Not a problem as the new manager will be provided with
an assistant with all of the required background.
As for Mo he will get executive summaries and devour them
them in record time. Certainly a good guy but so far over his head
it is an embarrasment for even backwater Cville.

we could come $100,000+ closer to a balnaced budget just by getting rid of the minister of propaganda! why do Jones or citycouncil need someone else speaking for them?

Stand corrected on the 29 and newsplex.

It is on both but hard to spot.

Gee, I'm so surprised, NOT!

Yes CookieJar, I know what you're talking about. It's really a two way street nowadays though. I recall when extremely well qualified and more qualified black men were overlooked so the city could hand the police chief's job to a "good ole white boy" (this was before Longo).

What a waste of taxpayers dollars

Well, that is what I would most likely do. Maybe he will.

Having to live in the city to be city manager or to be a constitutional officer is foolish anyway.

by hiring consultants to do this, isn't the city really saying "our HR department is incapable of doing its job"?

Gasbag, my deleted comment addressed the big difference between the two and mentioned why Jones has the upper hand in today's hiring world. Think you probably know what I'm talking about.

That requirement sin't so foolish when you consider the tensions between cityand county. Meadowcreek, water project,andmore. Im just shocked that Jones could even be acting CM with all that going on.

It took another 6-month search to get Barrick moved from inteim to full time Director of Communications by the way.

http://www.charlottesville.org/index.aspx?recordid=145&page=635

So the City is paying what a VQR editor makes. All he needs is a 25K grant from another City and leave town and email back instructions to a volunteer in his office to run the City to be competitive with VQR.

I know about the "buffer tactic" and that's one of the specific reasons the practice should be outlawed.

Yeah, he could be the next Assistant City Manger. Remember, they've got to fill that position now, too. Better get the outside recruiter on the phone. Heck, just start paying them a monthly retainer. It might be a better deal.

It's still $22,300 wasted. Council knew who they were going to hire.

The other 79 or 80 applicants wasted their time. :)

Deleted by moderator.

Ya'll stop picking on Ric now!

He's just as good an ole boy as any other in the Charlottesville "Good Ole Boys" Network!

And to be quite honest, Ric's resume impresses me more than that of Jones.

@neutral

;) You're obviously somebody on the inside, and I say that in an amused way, not a serious, accusatory way. One word, and one word alone in your post revealed it: "come to the next council meeting..." Come, and not go. An insider who works in City Hall would say "come to" whereas somebody on the outside would say "go to..."

I'm so clever!!!! Give me an award!!!!!! :D :D :D

"So, let me see, you can now earn $2ooK with a simple 4 year communications degree.."

Maybe he can help you with your negotiating skills.

So, let me see, you can now earn $2ooK with a simple 4 year communications degree from JMU. Great work if you can get it in these economic times.

Did I read right that a $250K payment was made to consultants to buttress their decision to hire this guy?
I have no position on Jone's qualifications for the job, but here we go again on payments to consultants as were made in regards to "traffic calming" a few years ago and in regards to Reservoir dredging. It is a national scandal how the revolving door works between govt. and consultants. This is a practice that should be illegal. Why bother hiring educated specialists for local govt. if every substantial decision involves huge pay-offs to outside "consultants".

Larry, Moe, and Curly became candidates for the position of Zeus.
Then one of them became the chosen.
Mount Olympus remains a bit foggy.

Hum....$170K- jealous, you bet! Unfair advantage, of course. A benefit to the City- no chance..................

wonder if A.G. Cuccinelli could investigate behind teh scenes here. doesn't look on the up and up

C'ville Eye, I think that many in City Hall have providing for themselves as a top priority. That through sitting in a virtually firing proof position. Can anyone recall someone losing a job in City management because of poor performance? Yet, the evidence of poor performance in City Hall is all around.

ââ?¬Å?Where it crystallized was in the interview,” says the mayor. ââ?¬Å?He nailed it. He had command of the issues.” And Council’s decision to hire Jones was unanimous, adds Norris. How ridiculous. What does Norris think Jones was doing for two years sitting in all those Council meetings, work sessions and closed-door sessions, sleeping? The other 80 applicants did not have the advantage of knowing more than what they could discover in recent newspapers.
Being able to describe what the current issues are is not that hard, the question is does one have the expertise to come up with a solution? Has Jones, who has been there for two years, demonstrated any ability to do that? Has any of the other 80 applicants?
People don't forget that Jones has learned all he knows about city government sitting at the feet of Overrun O'Connell and that our Council is unlike any other in the State. O'Connell showed Beauregard, the budget director, and him how to tax and borrow in order to spend. He knows nothing else because this has been his only experience. As for appropriate staffing - Overrun. As for being outsmarted by the County - Overrun, who is now officially working for them. As for teaching Council anything - Overrun. Actually, as for anything - Overrun. If his mentor had been successful at anything, he would still be the City Manager.
Jones is contracted to carry out the wishes of City Council, not the other way around. If they wish to get lose the city's AAA bond rating, there is absolutely nothing he can do about. He doesn't have a vote. His futre with the city in this position rests solely in the hands of Council, as it should be in our form of government. And we should face the fact that if we had had an election from a field of the 80 applicants, Jones would have won by a landslide. A look at our Council should tell us that the Charlottesville voter does not take qualifications into account, just personality.
@Really, thanks for the link. It's clear that City Hall thinks its top priority is providing for the poor.

Jones has been acting City Manager for months. He was Assistant City Manager before that.

The city can't balance its budget, sewage is still flowing into local streams, and the city just sent a whining note to the EPA saying that they can't comply with the law. Jones has been there for all of that. I'm not seeing the leadership that this city needs coming out of that environment.

This thing was a sham all along and I'd really like to know what it cost the city to play that game.

What were the qualifications for this job.

Of course he could outshine the others in an interview, he's not dumb. He knew what the Councilors wanted to hear, but can he do a better job standing up for city interests when it comes to dealing with the county, than his former boss, we'll see.
It's time the City staff and elected officials stop getting bullied by the county, I'm not sure Mr. Jones has true grit, when it comes to financial negotiations.

He'll be a fine City Manager--but he faces a very ugly budget shortfall. Couple years ago we had extra buck$ and every city department grabbed a bigger slice. Now we are left with bloated departments and no buck$. Reduced tax revenues. Does he have the moxie to cut programs?

@cookieJar: I was told yesterday that this process took $250K. The consultants that led this process were quite expensive, and then advertising costs, travel costs, etc. Someone could do a FOIA to find out. All for a fait accompli.

He did not even meet the basic, advertised qualifications for the position.

Was the point to have the first african american city manager or to find the best city manager to get us through the upcoming fiscal crisis? Because I thought it was the latter.

Today's front page Progress article says that City Councilors are considering risking our AAA bond rating to borrow more money. In 2011, tax assessments on residential and commercial property are doing to decrease dramatically. If they don't, you will see many, many people appealing the assessments. When the assessments are lower, revenue is lower, leaving Council no choice but to raise the tax rate, also a very unpopular choice in this economy. The City still relies on tax assessments as a major part of its budget. Without any previous serious budget, business, or financial experience, I am betting that Jones chooses borrowing over budget cuts.

Gary O'C was an Assistant City Manager for 14 years before he became Manager. Maurice hasn't even been Asst for what, 2 years? Never managed a budget cycle during that time.

And this is the same Maurice Jones who as Communications Director defended the pathetic $20K aluminum Christmas tree that the City bought the year after the Norwegian spruce got cut down to enhance the east end of the Mall. And defended the traffic calming "improvements" on Park Street that have never slowed down traffic and in fact make the street more unsafe for pedestrians and motorists because of the useless cut-ins.

Nice guy, nice family, great spinner. In fact, in the last week he told local news reporters that he was not in discussions with the City on the position. Spin or lie?

We are in for some trouble in the City. As a taxpayer, I am really worried.

What I want to see is a tough negotiator when it comes to deals with the county. The bleeding heart city liberals have been rolled one to many times for my liking. Wait till the state cuts medicaid and mental health funding, as they've proposed, which locality do you think will step in to fund those populations --the low tax county ?

We need more public housing and programs to lure homeless people and single welfare moms to live in Charlottesville. Hopefully, Mr. Jones will be up to the task. These folks will off-set the wealthy and privleged in this town, and bring us closer to the Charlottesville dream of a class free society that city council envisions for us.

Personally, I think Leslie Beauregard or even Jim Tolbert would have been better--Leslie because she has the finance chops and Jim because he has much more relevant experience. The trains *would* run on time under either of them--and the county negotiators? They'd have to get used to a new sheriff. But that's actually the problem. Neither of them had a chance in this process precisely because they know how to wield the hammer. And Cville gov'mint is much more comfortable with smiley, upbeat, Miss Congeniality types. So the popular guy won the big payday. I hope he'll be more than just a good communicator ... but I have doubts. All that talk about the vulnerable and the poor--I don't buy a word of it. I've never seen him in the neighborhoods. In fact ... doesn't he live in the county?

@ M@gnolia

Um, neither Leslie Beauregard nor Jim Tolbert applied for the position. So it's not like they went up against Maurice and lost, because the city "is much more comfortable with smiley, upbeat, Miss Congeniality types." So, not exactly sure what your point is. How can somebody "not have a chance in this process" when they didn't interject themselves into the process to begin with? Do you even know whether either of them want the job? Either in general, or at least at this point in time?

Maybe if Mo was still at 29 this would have made the local news.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/06/virginia.missing.child/index.html?hp...

Amber alert issued at 8am and I do not see anything at 29 or newsplex but it makes national news. Pretty damn pathetic.

Sorry to hijack the thread.

Jeezlouise, Mo didn't even do real news at 29, he was a sports guy. That's about equivalent to weather girl.

@ Booo! Leslie has young children and might not have been interested. Jim, I would imagine, *was* interested--who wouldn't be interested in NOT reporting to someone who's a decade and a half with a only fraction of your experience?

But Jim, alas, is unpopular and I'm sure has been made well aware of it.

And again--is MJ moving into the city or staying in his darling little McMansion in the county?

Oops, meant to write "decade and a half younger"--

Living in the county is a TREMENDOUS! conflict of intrest for anyone making public policy for the City or even shaping the publics perception as a spokes man. With issues like the Meadow Creek Pkwy and water supply in the newsall the time the person in charge of teh City living in teh County ought to have been a major scandal. How did he keep that out of the news.

@M@gnolia: It's interesting that you picked Tolbert--probably the city's most universally disliked city department heads, who runs the department that many feel is most deserving of a serious thrashing -- as your example of a candidate more qualified than Jones. Wow...

NBC 29 reports Maurice's salary at $170K a year, city provided car, tuition and supplies for post grad education. City treats their's well don't they?

@ M@gnolia

"@ Booo! Leslie has young children and might not have been interested. Jim, I would imagine, *was* interestedââ?¬â??who wouldn’t be interested in NOT reporting to someone who’s a decade and a half with a only fraction of your experience?"

Key words being "MIGHT NOT" and "I IMAGINE." Might not, as in, "I don't know so I'm guessing." And imagine, as in, "I don't know for certain so I'm guessing some more."

Everything you've said so far is just based on your own assumptions, basically just so you can hear yourself talk. People want to chime in on the matter....even when they have nothing worthwhile to say....so they resort to posting comments based on assumptions and personal opinions in order to accomplish that. "There! I've said something!" You wanted to sound like you knew something so you even name dropped some higher ups in the city. Unless you have actual quotes from Leslie Beauregard or Jim Tolbert explicitly stating their views and position on becoming city manager (or not becoming...) then your comments are pointless.

Hey give the guy a chance! Well, perhaps he should be given some goals as well- if he doesn't perform?

"Gone in 60 seconds".....along with those who appointed him to the position.

From all the comments, this guy is going to have a tough time even if he is effective. I do hope the news groups and his friends hold him accountable.

do tell Somebody... what do you know?

Remember Overrun O'Connell spent a great deal of time away from his office. He made great use of his Blackberry. Also, he had Ric Barrick and Maurice Jones to cover for him. Easy dollar.

@boooo!, actually I'm talking about a statement made by Leslie Beauregard at Council's 11/15/2010 meeting

That little bonus will not affect city employee's household in a significant. As for raises, I don't know anyone personally who has gotten a raise recently except for some government employees. I do know a number of people who are making less money than they did two years ago and I do know people whose homes have gone to auction. None of them, however, do not work for any government. Most government employees have increased pay packages however.

Forget about the raises. How is the pension plan where you work? Oh, you say you don't one? Well, that's no surprise. But all city employees do. Plus medical benefits. So any raise will be long forgotten when they're drawing retirement pay while those in the private sector are clipping coupons, cutting their pills in half, and eating Hamburger Helper.

@Cville Eye

"@booooo, remember I said to neutral ââ?¬Å?Maybe you are just grateful for your 2% raise?”

Problem is, *City Hall employees have not gotten raises in several years now.* There's been a freeze with raises (which was what the Christmas bonuses were supposed to be compensating for. But even then, something that the general public doesn't realize is that the bonuses are set up to deduct something like 40% of in taxes. I'm not even kidding. So even though they start at "$750.00" that's not even close to what the employees are actually getting by the time the taxes are taken out. It's not like all 900+ city employees are actually getting $750. $400 is more like it...if that. And that doesn't equal what a 2% raise spread out over 52 weeks would be.) So, I'm a little confused as to what you're referring to by 2% raise. Sounds like yet another person on the Hook comments section who doesn't know what they're talking about! Nothing new there! ;)

Hey "neutral"- the City still has to move him from Earlysville. I am giving him a chance- see my previous post. I just hope that he is held accountable for everything that happens- positive and negative.

Government employees are NEVER (yes I am shouting) held accountable. They get three chances before they are fired (failing drug tests) and again are never held accountable for their failures. The perquisites are extreme- getting more given to them because we pay taxes, than we as taxpayers are able to provide for ourselves by working hard- because we pay those taxes.

Let's recall that government employees are SERVENTS (sorry for the shouting)- they serve at OUR pleasure- especially those who are APPOINTED!

Remember the years when no one would work for the government? The compensation was far less than what you could be paid in the private sector.

@booooo, remember I said to neutral "Maybe you are just grateful for your 2% raise?"
@JennSilv, you are quite right. The city manager should have as many reasons to have allegiance to the city as possible. The problem with Overrun O'Connell was that his allegiance has been with the county, whom he hoped would hire him when he retired from the city. That's why he always upheld the county's interests while serving as a city's representative to the RWSA, by recommendations to the City, and by voice and votes on RWSA. It seems he was setting the ground for futre rewards from the County. The fact that Council changed the City Code to not require the Clerk of Council to live within the City. Who's to know if that person somewhere down the road would reveal to the County closed door discussions the City has about the dams at Ragged Mountain, for instance? Somebody could offer her a big house in the County for that information. Then he would be paying taxes in the , children going to county schools and paying county water rates.

GSOE- perhaps a claim of a conflict of interest is in order. Owning in both the County and the City- working for the City- maiing decisions based on- "well, I live there and own here, and maybe have allegiance to......oh, I don't know. Make sure he is held accountable for everything he says and actions he takes.

HarryD, this is one of the reasons I think the residency requirement is silly. Even if required to live in the city, a city manager can own properties in the County of Albemarle.

That's just one of many good reasons why someone from outside should be brought in to clean house.

@Dahmius

And whose fault is it that somebody *chose* to work in the private sector for companies that didn't provide them with retirement plans? Whose fault is it for not being smart, and looking ahead? Whose fault is it if somebody winds up in old age in a situation where they're "clipping coupons, cutting their pills in half, and eating Hamburger Helper"? *We're all responsible for the choices we make.*

@Cville Eye

"As for raises, I don’t know anyone personally who has gotten a raise recently except for some government employees."

Some government employees may very well have gotten some raises recently....but they wouldn't have been employees of the City of Charlottesville.

"I do know a number of people who are making less money than they did two years ago and I do know people whose homes have gone to auction. None of them, however, do not work for any government."

None of them do not? That's a double negative. I'm not sure what you're trying to say, unless you mean "none of them, however, work for any government" ? Removing the double negative results in a sentence that makes much better sense. If my interpretation of your sentence is correct, then the only thing I can say is what I told Dahmius....we're all responsible for the choices we make in life, including where we work.

From what I've gathered of the majority of Americans whose houses have gone into foreclosure and who are making less money than they were, etc. etc., since you use those examples, they were A) Living above their means; B) Bought homes during the whole shady mortgage thing years ago where pretty much anybody out there was being allowed to buy a home even if they had no money, and C) Made repeated poor life choices, which compounded as the years went on. Take a good look around at the people whose homes have NOT gone into auction and who are NOT making less than they were several years ago. Not all of them are going to be government employees, so, how do you explain it? It's called "making better life choices" and "not living above one's means" and "being smarter about how one lives life." I'm not a home owner so I don't have a shady mortgage to contend with and never will, I went out of my way to not have kids, I live below my means, I know how to save my money, I drive an old used car, and purposely don't have many of the material items and techno gadgets and appliances that most everybody else has. I know how to take responsibility for myself and have lived my life in a very *conscious* way. I will never find myself in a situation with a house going to auction, and even if I did suddenly start making less money *it wouldn't affect anything because I live such a modest life.* Whereas with most everybody around me that I've ever encountered - private sector or government - they're living paycheck to paycheck, and if they start to make less money their entire life unravels. It's utterly ridiculous. They refuse to give up the TV and cable bill, the alcohol and cigarettes, the shopping sprees to the mall, they've got kids they can't afford and never should have had, they chose to buy a home, they're driving a newer model car they have to make payments on, etc. etc. etc. And that's why their life is so precarious. It's their own fault. So the sob story guilt trip about non-government workers doesn't fly. It isn't about government workers vs. non. It's about *personal responsibility,* poor life choices, and people acting like babies who can't manage their own finances.

Glad Boo has it all figured out. Bad things never happen to good people, so he/she will always make the right choices and want for nothing.

P.S. to Boo - Interesting article in this weekend's Times Dispatch...

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/dec/12/tdmain01-public-employees...

What's that I hear? I boo-hoo-hoo from Boo. What goes around, comes around.

Sad day for the City of Charlottesville. There are many who felt it was time for a change, and now the opportunity has been squandered, It's just human nature that those who Mr. O'Connell should have fired will be kept on by Mr. Jones. It is doubtful that much will change in the staff at City Hall, and as for the water plan, well, Mr. O'Connell's deputy is now in charge, and we can be sure the county dam builders are celebrating today.

Maurice will do great because he's smart, sincerely considerate of the opinions of others and he LISTENS. He's got all the people skills one could hope for.

@Sandy

There's no guarantee that either of the other two candidates would have stormed into their new position, guns blazing, firing people. So I'm not sure why you seem so disappointed. In fact there's probably even less of a chance they would have done that, considering they would have been completely new to City Hall and the region, and wouldn't know those people in order to know about any supposed problems with them that make them worthy of being canned.

Not sure why people think that an outsider automatically equates to somebody who's going to fire people and make radically different choices from the insider. Not good logic.

To all the detractors I say: Give the man a chance before you start putting words in his mouth and making assumptions about what he's thinking, what he plans to do and where he's coming from. You're assuming the worst, without even having given him a chance to prove himself. Some people just like to run their mouths even when nothing has happened yet. If in a few years it becomes evident that you were right, well then go and pat yourselves on the back and tell everybody "I told you so!" But until then you're not in a place to assume anything.

Perhaps Jones can appoint Todd Hawkins to a city post, thus reuniting the Channel 29 sports dream team.

@cookieJar, too funny!

GSOE- Exactly my point! This position is accountable to NO ONE!!!!

If you compare a news station to a city, isn't being a weather girl at the news station equivalent to being a meter reader for the city? All either of them has to do is read. :)

Cville Eye and cookieJar-- perhaps you two should get a room.

A virtual room?

Correct, Dahmius. Back when a Charlottesville city sheriff hired his own son, he appointed the Captain and Lt. to do the interview and selection process. This way he could not be blamed for hiring his own son.

Obviously, the Captain and Lt. knew who the city sheriff wanted hired. :)

All the other applicants totally wasted their time.

The use of a consulate is a buffer tactic for covering one's behind and for shared blame if something goes wrong.

People keep speaking of a $170,000 salary. Why?

The actual salary, benefits and retirement package is much more. I would personally guesstimate the total package at $250,000+.

http://www.charlottesville.org/index.aspx?recordid=1439&page=635

quote: "The salary for the position is negotiable within a range of $165,000 to $190,000 based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience.... and is supplemented by an excellent benefits package."

You're right about that. I watched the staff's report to Council at one of its recently monthly meetings I believe chaired by Edwards. The staff presenter informed Council that the staff was looking in the estimated revenues to allow a 2% raise for all employees, poor performance or not. I wondered who was in charge here? Did Council say it wanted to give out raises this year when it has also said it doesn't know where all of the money will be coming from to cover future deficits?
Also, when county residents started criticizing the $5M Hollymead fire station, calling it the county's Taj Mahal, Overrun O'Connell reduced the city's cost for the proposed Fonaine Avenue fire station from $10M to $5M. Now, with Jones at the helm, it seems the staff has proposed the Fontaine station cost $14M. The employee who suggested should be rated with "poor performance." Charlottesville voters get exactly what they deserve.

A big part of the problem with "Charlottesville government" aka, the Council, is the fact that it's comprised of only five members, and all of whom are Democrats. That's the problem. Maybe if Charlottesville modeled itself after something like Burlington, Vermont, things would be different. From Burlington's Wiki page: "The City Council has fourteen seats, which are currently occupied by seven Democrats, three Republicans (One seat from Ward 4 and both seats of Ward 7), two Progressives, and two Independents." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burlington,_Vermont Sounds a little more balanced to me. There they have the same number of combined Repubs, Progressives and Independents balancing out the number of Dems, though admittedly the city is still largely Democrat, like Cville.

If the Council itself is balanced, and representing a broader and more accurate and realistic view of the population, then there no longer is an issue about whether a city manager is "only representing the interests of Council and acting as their puppet." Can't be a puppet of the Council if Council encompasses people from multi political parties.

Does anybody know how Cville got to be so.....um, homogenous? And why it doesn't model itself after other cities who have multi political parties being represented in their city halls?

What I'm wondering is this: Did the City Council hire Jones because they believe he'll be a strong manager and leader, or because they believe he'll do what they want him to do?

My fear is it's the latter.

That may be better than Gary O'Connell, who was continually outsmarted by the County. The cost share for the water plan will be a test, and whether the City gives away all their water infrastructure ( (reservoirs and dams ) to county control and to support county growth. Will Mr. Jones first advise that they conduct an audit to determine the value. They stand to lose hundreds of acres of valuable land at Ragged Mt., as well as the reservoir at South Fork and the present dam at Ragged Mt., recently shown to only need a spillway repair.

The value of these assets alone, if sold to the county, could go a long way to bridging the cost of services for the preponderance of needy residents, not cared for in the county, but living in the City.

What is the value of the land at Ragged Mt. that will be lost by building the earthen dam and destroying our concrete dam worth ?

I suspect that no matter what the City did there would be a group of grumblers and "concerned citizens" and "concerned taxpayers" because that's just how it goes.

If the city had hired one of the outside candidates then there would be a large group of upset citizens protesting that "The city got it wrong!" ranting about how they should have hired somebody who's a longtime resident of Cville and who knows the community, and knows the issues and knows everybody involved.

And hiring Maurice Jones, the mostly native insider, means there's the guaranteed crowd of protestors saying "The City needs fresh meat! The city doesn't need business as usual! The city needs somebody who will stand up to Council and change the way things are done and clean house and fire everybody and start fresh with a whole new staff!"

But of course if that had happened then there would be the large group of indignant citizens p.o'd that some outsider thinks they can just come in and start telling the natives what's what.

And then if the city hadn't opened the search up to outsiders and had just directly hired Maurice Jones from the start, by-passing the laws of the city, then a large group of citizens would be screaming "THAT'S NOT FAIR! What if *I* wanted to try out for the position?? Everybody should have an equal shot at this job!!"

But if they open up the position to everybody and anybody who wants to apply in the entire world, which they did, then of course you have all the p.o'd "concerned tax payers" who are mad about the executive search firm that was hired to take charge of the process and do the advertising and weed through the applications and narrow things down, and arrange for the interview process, which includes flying people in if they're from out of state, and putting them up in a hotel.

So basically.....the city can't win. No matter what it did somebody somewhere was going to be p.o.'d.

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, because I could see this one coming a mile away. :D

" My only advice is he help us find a solution to the water supply situation.” I certainly hope that Mr. Jones does not agree with Mr. O'Connell's assessment that a water plan is the communities most pressing problem.

We have plenty of water, but we are running out of money, and our sewer system is crumbling. There are major cuts in state funding on the way. This is the real crisis, not a lack of water.

from the Staunton Newsleader:

Cuts proposed by the state's Medicaid agency would also affect mental health care, including:

� As much as $12 million in payments for community mental health services

� As much as $5.5 million for mental health case management

� As much as $4 million for day treatment services

Because state payments are matched by federal funds, the loss to local mental health agencies would be twice as large.

Among other proposed cuts:

� Eliminating $5 million of state funds for Comprehensive Services Act programs for the state's most troubled youth

� Making cities and counties pay a larger share of Comprehensive Services Act school programs, saving the state $3.9 million

� Cutting the state share of spending for foster care for troubled youth, to save $7.5 million

� Cutting operating rates that Medicaid pays to nursing homes, to save as much as $37 million; cutting rates for outpatient treatment to save as much as $19 million, cutting fees for doctors to save as much as $26 million.

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/073b9cbfdb0c4818ae6fac19d5e...

As I was reminded today that both the County and City have new manager who were also assistants. One of the differences is the county saved $250,000 by just giving the job to their top assistants and having a search.

Perhaps the county really is trying to cuts cost and the city decided that search firms needed a stimulus packages

This is indeed a sad day.

quote: Despite his insider status, Jones getting the job wasn’t a done deal, according to Mayor Dave Norris. ââ?¬Å?Some may have assumed he had it in the bag and we were just going through the motions,” says Norris, but that wasn’t the case.

Was Norris able to say this with a straight face?

Go ask Maurice for a copy of the second set of books called the comprehensive annual financial reports and watch him elbow you out!

Wouldn't it have been simpler, cheaper and better for the city to hire someone who has the requisite education and experience before he starts the job rather than paying for Jones to play catch-up to the competition?

There is no guarantee that Jones will even be accepted to a graduate program, although of course the Affirmative Action thing will again be in his favor just as it was for his hiring.

Secondly, the grind of graduate school takes its toll on students who don't already have full-time jobs and family responsibilities. Being City Manager is more than just a full-time job and I can't imagine how Jones could possibly be effective in that role while distracted with another immense set of demands on his time.

We don’t even know if we are paying costs for Maurice Jones? Sure we do, it's in his contract.

Section 17: The City will cover moving expenses to the Manager’s new home.

Plus he gets a free Master's Degree courtesy of the taxpayers. Nice!

The car, gas and insurance are quite a benefit too with gasoline expected to go to $3.50 a gallon soon. And like many other city employees, he can use it 24/7 for anything he desires basically. This benefit alone is easily worth $10,000 a year.

SECTION 10. AUTOMOBILE

The Manager's duties require that he shall have the exclusive and unrestricted use at all times during his employment with the City of Charlottesville of an automobile provided to him by the City. The City shall be responsible for liability, property damage and comprehensive insurance, and for the purchase, operation, maintenance, repair and regular replacement of said automobile.

Unless you work for the public sector, you have no idea how privileged the citizens of the City act. The number of citizens who are constant complainers is astonishing. The citizens of this City are so miserable; complainers who like to chat on on-line forums like this one to gripe and feel sorry for themselves. If Maurice wasn't selected, you would gripe about how much the City is paying in moving expenses to bring in another candidate.
The cowardice of the internet is staggering. Grow a pair and come to the next council meeting and make your comments in a public forum. Stand by your criticism or shut up!!

@neutral, then we might all get fired from our jobs. Question: is your name really "neutral?" Also, we would never know the cost of such items as moving. we don't even know if we are paying costs for Maurice Jones. BTW, did you address whether you think he's qualified for the job? if you think so, why (and don' say he's a nice man - that qualfies him to wo as Santa Caus). Maybe you are just grateful for your 2% raise?

Question is now when will the City taxpayers review his success in the position and will they have the guts to reject him if he fails and to acclaim him if he is a success. Oh- how do we measure success for a city manager??????????

The city manager is hired or fired by City Council. The taxpayers have nothing to do with it.

Good luck Mr. Jones. I sincerely hope you do well because as you can see the glass is half empty

Angeleyes....yeah, God forbid the City or County could make a decision without a "consultant".....such a waste of taxpayer's money

It is'nt what you know, but whom you know, in this town.

Not all government workers get 3 chances. A sheriff's deputy recently resigned after his refusing a randon drug test. Had he not resigned, he would have been terminated on this first strike.

Back to Maurice Jones, I bet his wife is about to ready kill him! They have a very nice home now. And I imagine she hates leaving it! :)

Who says he has to sell it? If you get an interest free loan from the city to put a 20% down payment on a new house plus your $170,000 a year salary, why not have two houses?

@boooo!, it's about the government forcing those people to provide it with the funds to provide its workers a raise. jones' being friends with the employees and with Council will see to it that the employees will get it.

It is halarious to read all the posts: especially boo, C'ville Eye, and Dahmius. So worked up over the hiring of the City Manager. I say pay the guy a fair salary. What are othe City Manager's out there getting paid? He has a tough job working for the people and following in O'Connell's footsteps.
Anyway, thanks for giving me a laugh. If you were to put half of your passion into your "real life" as you do into these posts maybe you could have been the City Manager

You're welcome, but if you'd like a real thigh-slapper, look in the mirror!

I don't want to be the City Manager. The manager of Prince Georges Count MD that contains TEN cities and SEVENTEEN towns made $175,000 after seven years in the job. The county has an area of over 400,000 sq. mi. while Charlottesville has less than ELEVEN sq. mi. Maurice Jones will be STARTING at $170,000 with no years experience. I hope make my day is capable of making a suitable comparison. If you, make my day, think that "boo", C’ville Eye, and Dahmius are putting our "passion" in the wrong place, why did you waste your "passion" by bothering to comment, Miss Snotty?

Following in O’Connell’s footsteps???

I don't think many residents want that!

Overrun was his mentor.

Only a current city employee would.

Jones was making more than a fair salary at the job he was trained for, city spokesman. The base salary for Charlottesville City Manger is far too great to be a fair one for him based on his training and his experience.

Jones has a communications degree from JMU. That's not an impressive degree, it's not an impressive school, and Jones has virtually no management experience. That makes him about equal to Sarah Palin in terms of education and somewhat behind her in terms of experience. Would anyone who thinks that it was right to hire Jones think that Palin could handle the job? Would Holly Edwards and Kristin Szakos both shed tears of joy at hiring the first woman City Manager if she had applied?

"Make My Day" seems to think he deserves a shot (see above). So maybe he/she is a Palin fan as well. You go "Mamma Grizzlies"!

a backroom to make deal's in he means i think