Michael C. Rogers, who has experience leading cities such as Washington, D.C., New York and Petersburg, will lead Charlottesville as interim city manager.
The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to appoint Rogers, who will be working on behalf of the Robert Bobb Group, LLC to perform key city duties until a permanent city manager is hired.
Rogers is the sixth person to serve in the city manager role since 2018. He will start his service on Jan. 31.
The city decided to hire a firm to perform the duties of interim city manager after former City Manager Chip Boyles resigned in October, and the city’s candidate for interim city manager, Marc Woolley, pulled out of the position before his start date.
Rogers served as city administrator of Washington, D.C. and as executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the regional planning agency.
He also acted as chief operating and financial officer for Petersburg and served as contracts and chief procurement officer for mayors in New York City and Washington, D.C.; national director of the Minority Business Development Agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce; and director of the Mayor’s Office of Contracts and City Chief Procurement Officer for Washington. D.C.
Rogers faced some criticism following his time as city administrator under then-mayor of Washington, D.C. Marion Barry, the Washington Post reported in 1997. Some D.C. officials told the Post they felt Barry didn’t make enough tangible change and fix financial issues within the city, while others said Rogers did a good job in the face of government chaos.
On Tuesday, Rogers told the city he values open government and wants to bring transparency to the table.
“I look forward to engaging with the staff and becoming a part of the team and leading the team so that the citizens of Charlottesville are proud every day at the level of service that their government provides. A government that will listen, is open and transparent, that’s my style. That’s what I look for,” he said.
Mayor Lloyd Snook said he was particularly impressed by Roger’s interest in mentoring other city employees.
“One of the things that I remember particularly about [Rogers’] interview is that [he] enjoyed mentoring and teaching younger, deputy city managers, people who are middle managers in city government,” Snook said. “That’s something we really need and it really resonated with me in particular.”
The city hired the Robert Bobb Group in December to serve the city until it can hire a permanent city manager, projected for later in spring 2022. In the meantime, the firm is tasked with tackling the city’s urgent needs, including developing the fiscal year 2023 budget.
As part of the firm’s contract with the city, tasks identified as “urgent needs” by the city must be performed by an individual employed by the firm that has a master’s degree in public administration or a related field and at least 10 years of professional experience as a city manager in an urban locality, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
Rogers, along with two other candidates, were nominated by the firm. City Council chose Rogers after conducting interviews last week.