Eight consulting firms submitted proposals to lead Charlottesville’s search for a new city manager.
The city accepted sealed bids through Friday. Because it is a sealed bid process, cost estimates are not publicly available and the city will negotiate with the firms.
Councilor Heather Hill said the council will review the proposals over the week and pick firms to interview electronically, with a contract likely to be awarded toward the end of the month.
The firm will lead the search for a successor to former City Manager Tarron Richardson, who ended a tumultuous tenure on Sept. 30 after mutually agreeing with the City Council to part ways. He received a lump-sum severance payout of $205,000, equivalent to one year’s salary, and will have city health insurance for another year unless he finds another job in that time.
Proposals were accepted almost two years to the day since the city last selected a firm to lead the search that found Richardson.
In October 2018, the city hired S. Renee Narloch & Associates for $25,000. The Tallahassee, Florida, company had helped to find several city managers in that state, but had not led the search for a top administrator in a Virginia city, until Charlottesville.
City Attorney John Blair has been serving as interim city manager since Oct. 1, with Deputy City Attorney Lisa Robertson filling the role of acting city attorney.
Blair receives a 10% pay boost for the duration of his time in the role and his interim city manager contract has provisions for contributions toward his retirement fund the longer he is in the role.
Blair is the fourth person to lead the city since Jan. 1, 2018. Maurice Jones’ contract was not renewed in the fallout of the Unite the Right rally and he was succeeded by Mike Murphy in an interim role. Murphy held the position until Richardson took over in May 2019.
Prior to Jones’ departure, Charlottesville only had four city managers over 70 years: Jones, Gary O’Connell, Cole Hendrix and James Bowen.
Richardson, Murphy and Jones received benefits when leaving the city.
Murphy remains on the city’s payroll through Oct. 31.
Jones had paid back $32,000 of a $113,000 loan to move to the city and obtain a master’s degree and the city forgave the balance in 2018 after his departure.