Jan 19 • 15M

January 19, 2022: Council appoints former D.C. administrator to serve as interim city manager; Albemarle EDA briefed on Lewis and Clark loan

(Apologies for a second email, but there was a slight publication error)

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Sean Tubbs
Regular updates of what's happening in local and regional government in and around Charlottesville, Virginia from an award-winning journalist with nearly thirty years of experience.
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In just over two months, there will be an equal amount of time between light and dark as the world approaches equinox. Until then, there’s enough time to spend this winter gathering up enough information to see us through the summer. But in all likelihood, the warmer times will be just as busy. It’s January 19, 2022 and this is Charlottesville Community Engagement. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. 

(Apologies that this one was sent twice - there was an error in the first one that I could not edit and somehow had to publish a second time!)

Share Charlottesville Community Engagement

On today’s program: 
  • City Council selects an interim city manager from three candidates picked by a consultant 

  • Albemarle is looking for people to join various boards and commissions, including a vacancy on the Architectural Review Board

  • The Albemarle Economic Development Authority discusses an outstanding loan to the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center

  • A brief update from the Virginia General Assembly

First shout-out goes to Camp Albemarle

Today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”

Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study of ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting http://campalbemarleva.org/donate

Council picks former D.C. administrator to run the city 

A former city administrator from Washington D.C. will serve as Charlottesville’s latest interim city manager. Here’s City Councilor Michael Payne reading from the resolution. 

“Be it resolved by the Council of the City of Charlottesville that the Robert Bobb Group having previously having been awarded a contract to provide interim city manager services has offered Mr. Michael C. Rogers as its key personnel to be assigned by the firm to perform the duties of City Manager,”  Payne said. 

Rogers served as D.C.’s administrator in the mid 1990’s at the same time Marion Barry was serving in his last term as Mayor. He resigned in 1997, according to coverage in the Washington Post at that time

Rogers was introduced by Robert Bobb of the Robert Bobb Group. 

“Michael Rogers has a doctorate, has a J.D. degree, a master’s in public policy, and has over 30 years of experience in municipal government and in the private sector,” Bobb said. “He has served as the city administrator of the District of Columbia and as a director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government, the regional planning agency.”

Rogers held that position for four and a half years and was commended in a resolution from January 2003

Michael C. Rogers begins work in Charlottesville on January 31 (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

From April 2018 to July 2019, Rogers served as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer in Petersburg. He resigned from the position according to this story from WTVR and this one from NBC12. He’s also served as chief procurement officer for the City of New York. 

Rogers thanked Council for selecting him. 

“I am excited about this opportunity,” Rogers said. “I can tell you what I know about Charlottesville. Early in my career, I met a man named Cole Hendrix who was your long-term city manager. I kind of grew up with him in my career. I can still remember the excitement and joy in his voice when he talked about his city of Charlottesville.”

Hendrix served in the position from 1971 to 1996. Rogers said he has been here a couple of times, and has a lot to learn. 

“I look forward to coming to town, hitting the ground running, working with you, listening to you, understanding the issues that are immediately before you so that we can work on constructive solutions for addressing problems and issues for the citizens of the citizens and residents of the city of Charlottesville,” Rogers said. 

Rogers begins work on January 31. 

Storm clean-up update

Before then, Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall and Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders are in charge of day-to-day affairs. Sanders gave Council an update on the city’s response to recent winter storms.

“It has been a trying time I must say in Public Works in that we’ve had these two storms back to back with very little time in between, “ Sanders said “That has provided less opportunity for us to make really sure everything is working as we need it work because we haven’t had downtime.” 

Sanders said a third of the public works operations team were not able to work due to COVID. 

“And in that, of course that may lead to some things not necessarily getting addressed the way we have been accustomed to addressing in the past so we do apologize for any issues that might have come up over the course of the past day and a half,” Sanders said. 

Sanders said work is now underway to prepare for the next round of winter weather. 

Openings available on Albemarle government panels

The Albemarle Architectural Review Board met yesterday with four members. Fred Missel stepped down from that body when he was appointed to the Albemarle Planning Commission. The group selected Chris Henningsen to serve as its chair and Frank Hancock as the vice chair. 

Would you like to be the fifth member? Go ahead and apply. Or check out all of the vacancies on boards and commissions and throw your hat in the ring for one of those! 

Second subscriber-supporter public service announcement goes to Shift/Enter

Do you or someone you know want to find a job in the tech community? On this upcoming Saturday, there will be another Shift/Enter workshop in which participants can go through directed sessions with knowledgeable volunteers on resume feedback, interview advice, and perspectives on the tech landscape. For an $8 ticket, you'll have three different interview sessions with people to have a career conversation, to review your resume, or to have a mock interview. To learn more and to sign up, visit shiftenter.org

Albemarle EDA briefed on 2022 plans, Lewis and Clark Loan 

There will be no change in leadership on Albemarle’s Economic Development Authority. Donald Long will remain the chair, George Ray will stay the vice chair, and David Shreve gets to keep being treasurer.

The group met virtually yesterday and heard from Economic Development Director Roger Johnson about what his office will be up to this year. In the first part of the year, COVID remains a threat to business as usual and Johnson said help will be available from economic development. 

“We would expect there would continue to be COVID prophylactics, particularly when you think about some of the things that we have done historically,”  Johnson said. “It includes things like the LIFT grant, microloan programs, Safe Places and Safe Spaces.”

Previous funding has come through the federal CARES Act of 2020. To see how that money’s been used to date, visit enablealbemarle.org

Johnson said this year the EDA’s Board of Commissioners will review a new grant program in Albemarle to encourage the reuse of historic buildings. He also said the EDA may be looking to purchase land. 

“There are many ways that the Economic Development Authority can promote economic development through land ownership so we may be coming back to this particular board to talk about ways in land ownership or site control which may advance the county’s mission to accomplish a sustainable economy,” Johnson said. 

The EDA was also given an update on an outstanding loan granted to the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center. Nine years ago, the nonprofit borrowed $260,000 from the economic development authorities of both Albemarle and Charlottesville to cover the unanticipated cost of drilling rock as the center was being at Darden-Towe Park. Richard DeLoria is a senior assistant county attorney. 

“The loan originated in 2013 and there have been two amendments to the loan and the second one extends the performance date to June 30, 2018,” Deloria said. 

To date, the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center has not made a payment and has been seeking to forgive the loan. City Council voted in November 2015 to do so, but only if Albemarle followed suit. The Board of Supervisors opted to not grant forgiveness two years later and the matter remains unresolved. 

“The primary purpose is to make you aware that this authority needs to take action between now and June 30, 2023 or lose legal standing,” Johnson said. 

Donald Long said a decision on forgiveness is not up to the EDA.

“The Board of Supervisors provided the money to us to turn around and make the loan so ultimately it is the Board of Supervisors’ decision about whether they want to forgive it,” Long said. “We obviously may have the legal authority if we chose to do that but I think the Board appropriated the money for that purpose so my view is that our obligation is to continue to collect or take reasonable efforts to do it unless we’re given direction by the Board of Supervisors to forgive it.”

Long suggested convening a group to work with the Center to work out a payment arrangement. 

“We need to take some steps to figure out what’s going on and try to at least come up with a plan to move forward,” Long said. 

The Center has been paying the interest on the loan. Johnson said he would reach out to the Center. 

General Assembly update

Several more bills in the Virginia Senate have ended their journey in the 2022 General Assembly through dismissals by various committees. But that’s never the complete story. Or is it? This process moves so fast and it is hard to keep track of it all. Yet, I shall endeavor. This update is as of 8 a.m. this morning. 

  • A bill from Senator Chap Petersen (D-34) to institute a $20,000 cap on individual contributions to candidates in Virginia was passed on indefinitely in the Privileges and Elections committee. (SB44)

  • Senator Joe Morrissey (D-16) had a cap of $25,000, and that bill was also passed on indefinitely (SB111)

  • Two bills failed that would have required voters to present photo identification. A bill (SB118) from Senator Amanda Chase (R-11) was incorporated into another bill by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26) which was also passed on by indefinitely on a unanimous committee vote. (SB127

  • Another bill from Senator Mark Peake would have required registrars to verify each voter by name, date of birth, and social security number was passed on a 9 to 6 vote in the Privileges and Elections Committee. (SB162)

  • Another bill from Peake would have ended a provision allowing people to vote on their day of registration. This was also defeated on a 9 to 6 vote. (SB167)

Support the program!

Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:

  • Free installation

  • Second month of Ting service for free

  • A $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall

Additionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here!

Share Charlottesville Community Engagement

On today’s program: 
  • City Council selects an interim city manager from three candidates picked by a consultant 

  • Albemarle is looking for people to join various boards and commissions, including a vacancy on the Architectural Review Board

  • The Albemarle Economic Development Authority discusses an outstanding loan to the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center

  • A brief update from the Virginia General Assembly

First shout-out goes to Camp Albemarle

Today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”

Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study of ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting http://campalbemarleva.org/donate

Council picks former D.C. administrator to run the city 

A former city administrator from Washington D.C. will serve as Charlottesville’s latest interim city manager. Here’s City Councilor Michael Payne reading from the resolution. 

“Be it resolved by the Council of the City of Charlottesville that the Robert Bobb Group having previously having been awarded a contract to provide interim city manager services has offered Mr. Michael C. Rogers as its key personnel to be assigned by the firm to perform the duties of City Manager,”  Payne said. 

Rogers served as D.C.’s administrator in the mid 1990’s at the same time Marion Barry was serving in his last term as Mayor. He resigned in 1997, according to coverage in the Washington Post at that time

Rogers was introduced by Robert Bobb of the Robert Bobb Group. 

“Michael Rogers has a doctorate, has a J.D. degree, a master’s in public policy, and has over 30 years of experience in municipal government and in the private sector,” Bobb said. “He has served as the city administrator of the District of Columbia and as a director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government, the regional planning agency.”

Rogers held that position for four and a half years and was commended in a resolution from January 2003

Michael C. Rogers begins work in Charlottesville on January 31 (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

From April 2018 to July 2019, Rogers served as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer in Petersburg. He resigned from the position according to this story from WTVR and this one from NBC12. He’s also served as chief procurement officer for the City of New York. 

Rogers thanked Council for selecting him. 

“I am excited about this opportunity,” Rogers said. “I can tell you what I know about Charlottesville. Early in my career, I met a man named Cole Hendrix who was your long-term city manager. I kind of grew up with him in my career. I can still remember the excitement and joy in his voice when he talked about his city of Charlottesville.”

Hendrix served in the position from 1971 to 1996. Rogers said he has been here a couple of times, and has a lot to learn. 

“I look forward to coming to town, hitting the ground running, working with you, listening to you, understanding the issues that are immediately before you so that we can work on constructive solutions for addressing problems and issues for the citizens of the citizens and residents of the city of Charlottesville,” Rogers said. 

Rogers begins work on January 31. 

Storm clean-up update

Before then, Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall and Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders are in charge of day-to-day affairs. Sanders gave Council an update on the city’s response to recent winter storms.

“It has been a trying time I must say in Public Works in that we’ve had these two storms back to back with very little time in between, “ Sanders said “That has provided less opportunity for us to make really sure everything is working as we need it work because we haven’t had downtime.” 

Sanders said a third of the public works operations team were not able to work due to COVID. 

“And in that, of course that may lead to some things not necessarily getting addressed the way we have been accustomed to addressing in the past so we do apologize for any issues that might have come up over the course of the past day and a half,” Sanders said. 

Sanders said work is now underway to prepare for the next round of winter weather. 

Openings available on Albemarle government panels

The Albemarle Architectural Review Board met yesterday with four members. Fred Missel stepped down from that body when he was appointed to the Albemarle Planning Commission. The group selected Chris Henningsen to serve as its chair and Frank Hancock as the vice chair. 

Would you like to be the fifth member? Go ahead and apply. Or check out all of the vacancies on boards and commissions and throw your hat in the ring for one of those! 

Second subscriber-supporter public service announcement goes to Shift/Enter

Do you or someone you know want to find a job in the tech community? On this upcoming Saturday, there will be another Shift/Enter workshop in which participants can go through directed sessions with knowledgeable volunteers on resume feedback, interview advice, and perspectives on the tech landscape. For an $8 ticket, you'll have three different interview sessions with people to have a career conversation, to review your resume, or to have a mock interview. To learn more and to sign up, visit shiftenter.org

Albemarle EDA briefed on 2022 plans, Lewis and Clark Loan 

There will be no change in leadership on Albemarle’s Economic Development Authority. Donald Long will remain the chair, George Ray will stay the vice chair, and David Shreve gets to keep being treasurer.

The group met virtually yesterday and heard from Economic Development Director Roger Johnson about what his office will be up to this year. In the first part of the year, COVID remains a threat to business as usual and Johnson said help will be available from economic development. 

“We would expect there would continue to be COVID prophylactics, particularly when you think about some of the things that we have done historically,”  Johnson said. “It includes things like the LIFT grant, microloan programs, Safe Places and Safe Spaces.”

Previous funding has come through the federal CARES Act of 2020. To see how that money’s been used to date, visit enablealbemarle.org

Johnson said this year the EDA’s Board of Commissioners will review a new grant program in Albemarle to encourage the reuse of historic buildings. He also said the EDA may be looking to purchase land. 

“There are many ways that the Economic Development Authority can promote economic development through land ownership so we may be coming back to this particular board to talk about ways in land ownership or site control which may advance the county’s mission to accomplish a sustainable economy,” Johnson said. 

The EDA was also given an update on an outstanding loan granted to the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center. Nine years ago, the nonprofit borrowed $260,000 from the economic development authorities of both Albemarle and Charlottesville to cover the unanticipated cost of drilling rock as the center was being at Darden-Towe Park. Richard DeLoria is a senior assistant county attorney. 

“The loan originated in 2013 and there have been two amendments to the loan and the second one extends the performance date to June 30, 2018,” Deloria said. 

To date, the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center has not made a payment and has been seeking to forgive the loan. City Council voted in November 2015 to do so, but only if Albemarle followed suit. The Board of Supervisors opted to not grant forgiveness two years later and the matter remains unresolved. 

“The primary purpose is to make you aware that this authority needs to take action between now and June 30, 2023 or lose legal standing,” Johnson said. 

Donald Long said a decision on forgiveness is not up to the EDA.

“The Board of Supervisors provided the money to us to turn around and make the loan so ultimately it is the Board of Supervisors’ decision about whether they want to forgive it,” Long said. “We obviously may have the legal authority if we chose to do that but I think the Board appropriated the money for that purpose so my view is that our obligation is to continue to collect or take reasonable efforts to do it unless we’re given direction by the Board of Supervisors to forgive it.”

Long suggested convening a group to work with the Center to work out a payment arrangement. 

“We need to take some steps to figure out what’s going on and try to at least come up with a plan to move forward,” Long said. 

The Center has been paying the interest on the loan. Johnson said he would reach out to the Center. 

General Assembly update

Several more bills in the Virginia Senate have ended their journey in the 2022 General Assembly through dismissals by various committees. But that’s never the complete story. Or is it? This process moves so fast and it is hard to keep track of it all. Yet, I shall endeavor. This update is as of 8 a.m. this morning. 

  • A bill from Senator Chap Petersen (D-34) to institute a $20,000 cap on individual contributions to candidates in Virginia was passed on indefinitely in the Privileges and Elections committee. (SB44)

  • Senator Joe Morrissey (D-16) had a cap of $25,000, and that bill was also passed on indefinitely (SB111)

  • Two bills failed that would have required voters to present photo identification. A bill (SB118) from Senator Amanda Chase (R-11) was incorporated into another bill by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26) which was also passed on by indefinitely on a unanimous committee vote. (SB127

  • Another bill from Senator Mark Peake would have required registrars to verify each voter by name, date of birth, and social security number was passed on a 9 to 6 vote in the Privileges and Elections Committee. (SB162)

  • Another bill from Peake would have ended a provision allowing people to vote on their day of registration. This was also defeated on a 9 to 6 vote. (SB167)

Support the program!

Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:

  • Free installation

  • Second month of Ting service for free

  • A $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall

Additionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here!