The field of candidates under consideration for Charlottesville’s next city manager narrowed on Wednesday after one dropped out of the running.
Sitting interim City Manager Michael Rogers has withdrawn his name from the pool, according to a Wednesday statement from the city.
The news may come as a surprise to some. While Mayor Lloyd Snook had previously said the city would be considering keeping Rogers on full-time, Rogers had never formally announced he had applied for the position.
Council Member Brian Pinkston told The Daily Progress on Wednesday that Rogers had been among three candidates in consideration for the position.
“We’re down to other candidates,” Pinkston said, declining to provide their names.
However, there is some reason to believe the council has already made its decision. Both the Wednesday statement and Pinkston said that the final announcement will be issued in mid-July.
Asked if any of the council members know who the new city manager will be, Pinkston paused before answering, “Yes.”
The forthcoming announcement and Rogers’ decision to withdraw his candidacy are not correlated, according to Pinkston.
“The reasons that he dropped out are independent of other factors that have played out here,” Pinkston said.
In the city’s Wednesday statement, Rogers is quoted as saying that while he would have loved to continue his work, “personal priorities require that I return home to the District of Columbia full time.”
Rogers has been interim city manager since January of last year.
During his tenure, the city said Rogers has helped fill staff positions, prepare a collective bargaining ordinance for unionized city employees and complete two balanced city budgets, among other things.
Rogers was quoted in the city’s statement as saying that his time in the role “has been challenging, rewarding, and quite busy.”
City Council has been emphatic that whoever is the new manager, they will bring stability to the position and the local government. Charlottesville has had six interim or full-time city managers since 2018. That does not include one candidate who accepted the position but pulled out before starting the job.
Rogers is an employee of the Robert Bobb Group, a Washington consulting firm that the city retained in January 2022. The group “served as an Administrator on the contract” while Rogers was physically present as city manager, according to the city statement.
Council Member Michael Payne previously told The Daily Progress that the city chose to hire the Robert Bobb Group and Rogers because the government was “in a state of crisis.”
Outsourcing to a consulting group, Payne said, “was a solution to ensure we could continue basic operations.”
A city manager is crucial in Charlottesville, which has a council-manager form of government. While the council sets policies, it is the manager who is required to actually implement them.
While Rogers chose to withdraw his name from consideration “for reasons that were personal to him," Pinkston said, “I think that even given that, we’re still going to end up with a solid choice when this is all said and done."
According to Pinkston, Charlottesville will be “hearing something soon” on the final hire.