Who could take one more hour of the suspense, anyways? Certainly not Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Werner. An hour before Mayor Dave Norris was slated to make an announcement at City Hall, Werner released an e-mail announcing the official appointment of Maurice Jones as Charlottesville’s new city manager.
According to Werner, Norris met with city staff this morning to share the news. Details after the photo:
Norris named Jones (left) Charlottesville’s new city manager this morning at City Hall
Werner called Jones a "huge team-builder." "He’s patient, objective, and he listens," Werner told C-VILLE. "I think he tries to take all the accounts in order, and tries to take appropriate actions based on all feedback."
Following the resignation of previous manager Gary O’Connell, Jones—then assistant city manager—was appointed interim manager while the city formalized its search process for the position. Charlottesville awarded Richmond-based Springsted Incorporated a $16,000 contract to assist with the search, which yielded dozens of candidates.
The pool recently narrowed to three this week, then dropped to two when Columbia, Missouri’s assistant city manager said she was not in salary negotiations with Charlottesville. The office of East Providence, Rhode Island City Manager Richard Brown, the last candidate vying against Jones for the job, said Brown was on vacation this week.
City officials recently announced they had selected a new manager, but remained mum on the individual while salary and benefits were negotiated. The position was advertised with a salary of $165,000 to $190,000. O’Connell retired at an annual salary of $175,000.
Jones served the last two years as assistant city manager. Prior to that position, he worked as a director of development at the Miller Center for three years, served as the city’s director of communications and was a sportscaster for NBC29.
Asked about the difference between knowing the position and knowing the city itself, Werner (who served on a panel that interviewed the top three candidates for the job) said there "wasn’t much difference between persons who had a lot of experience at the position and Maurice."
"At the end of the day Maurice knows the ground," said Werner. "And he can hit the ground running."