Maurice Jones, City of Charlottesville

Maurice Jones, Charlottesville City Manager

Where were you born (and raised, if different)?

I was born at Dewitt Army Hospital on the base of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County but raised in Dale City, Virginia in Prince William County.

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I moved to Charlottesville in March of 1993 after accepting a job at NBC 29.

What neighborhood do you live in now?

I currently live in Earlysville but will be moving into the City at some point in 2012.

Family (spouse, kids, etc)?

My wife, Michele, and I have four young children, all boys ranging in age from five months to 5 years.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?

I graduated from James Madison University in 1992.

What were you doing before coming to the city government?

I worked in the field of broadcast journalism before becoming Director of Communications for the City of Charlottesville in 1999.

Your job title is City Manager – what, in your own words, would you say you do?

I serve as the Chief Administrator for the City government so my primary job is to work closely with our City Council and staff to provide high quality services to our residents, businesses and visitors. This originates with our City Council Vision and involves a tremendous amount of interaction and engagement with our constituents.

What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?

I enjoy being able to make a difference in our community. I’m blessed to be able to lead an organization that is committed to helping folks solve problems. Whether it’s a deteriorating sidewalk in one of our neighborhoods or addressing the issues related poverty, we are willing to look for different ways to tackle problems. We realize we cannot always solve issues through governmental action but many times we can serve as a catalyst and invite people to the table in an effort to bring about positive change.

I love my job but if I had to pick the most difficult part of it I’d have to say balancing my workload and professional commitments with my personal life.

How does your job most directly impact the average person?

Of course there is a lot of focus on major controversial issues like the water supply plan and the Meadow Creek Parkway. Both are important and have taken up significant portions of my time but in the end the most essential part of my job is developing our budget. It is the foundation by which we as a City government can help build a strong community. Our city’s character is ingrained in our budget. Our generous support of our schools, the commitment we’ve made to our public infrastructure like roads and recreation facilities and the level of protective service we provide through our public safety departments all contribute to the quality of life here for folks in the Charlottesville area, and it all begins with the reasoned and appropriate disbursement of the revenues we receive from our taxpayers. In the end our budget is a reflection of our community’s expectations and vision.

What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the city?

I think the work we’ve done on the Dialogue on Race over the course of the last two years has been vitally important. I was initially the primary staff member on the project and have enjoyed seeing its growth from dialogue to action. The City Council realized that Charlottesville’s long and complicated history of race relations needed to be addressed in a comprehensive manner and the community has embraced the project. There may be disagreement from time to time on what action is needed to move us forward but in the end we know we’re a stronger community because of our willingness to take on this issue.

What is a little known fact about you?

Although I certainly do not consider myself an expert in music, I do have an eclectic taste in it. You’ll find an assortment of music in my CD shelves and on my iPod. From Beethoven to Kirk Franklin to Beyonce, I enjoy a variety of artists from different backgrounds.

What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc?

I used to spend my free time reading, playing sports or going to movies but now most of my time spent outside of work is with my family. Spending quality time with my wife and children has become my hobby. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.