Charlottesville’s City Council will accept applications for an appointed new member for one more week.
There were eight applicants as of Tuesday afternoon, according to a post on the city’s website. The city posted the applications after Charlottesville Tomorrow requested access to them on Monday.
Among the applicants are nonprofit executives and UVA employees, a former Council member, someone who has run for Council but was defeated, the CEO of a consulting firm, and a retiree and UVA alumnus.
“I’m excited that we have several people interested,” said Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade. “It’s going to be a tough choice and I think that’s a good thing.”
The City Council is seeking to replace Sena Magill, who resigned on Jan. 11. The four remaining members are accepting applications through Jan. 30 to fill the seat by appointment. They will hold a public meeting on Feb. 6 about the candidates and make an appointment by Feb. 21. By state law, they have 45 days to fill the position.
The appointment will last until Dec. 31, 2023. Voters will select a new Council member in the upcoming November election to begin in 2024.
Mayor Lloyd Snook did not respond to inquiries about the applicants or how the Feb. 6 meeting will proceed.
Wade said that he hopes that the Council will be ready to communicate their process for vetting candidates next week, after the application period closes. He encourages community members to comment at the Feb. 6 meeting about who they feel their representatives should choose. The Council is still deciding how and when they will interface with applicants.
Councilor Michael Payne wrote in an email that they have had discussions about giving time to applicants to address the public on Feb. 6. “In the days following the Feb. 6 meeting, Council would hold more extensive interviews with each applicant. We would then make a final decision by the second City Council meeting in February,” he wrote.
But it’s been just two weeks since Magill’s resignation, so the Council is still deciding how to proceed and meet the deadlines. “We’re feeling our way through this process. It’s new to everyone,” Wade said.
The position pays $18,000 per year and requires upward of 20 hours per week, current Council members told Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Council members have varying ideas of what they are looking for. Several told Charlottesville Tomorrow they are seeking someone with a track record of civic service, the time to devote to the job and ability to attend meetings. Brian Pinkston said he wanted a candidate with “thoughtful passion” who does not want to run in the November election. Payne is seeking a candidate with a “progressive vision of politics,” with similar priorities as Magill.
Snook did not have advice for applicants “except to caution that it’s likely to feel like learning at the wrong end of a fire hose for a while,” he wrote in an email on Jan. 8. “It would be really helpful if the person had some particular exposure to zoning matters, since we’ll be adopting a zoning ordinance between now and the fall. Beyond that, the person is just going to have to be a really quick study on a lot of topics.”