New city manager wants open-door policy

Tarron Richardson met the local press April 15, and said he has no fear about sitting in the city manager hot seat.
Eze Amos Tarron Richardson met the local press April 15, and said he has no fear about sitting in the city manager hot seat. Eze Amos

City Council introduced its pick to be the city’s top executive April 15, and Mayor Nikuyah Walker urged citizens to be open to moving past “the way things have been done.”

Tarron Richardson, currently city manager of DeSoto, Texas, a Dallas suburb, was chosen out of 37 candidates in a process that’s taken almost a year. He said he intends to meet with staff, residents, and business owners to “make sure everyone is receiving the best service.”

Richardson says he’s not the type of CEO who’s rarely seen, and that he has an open-door policy.

Nor was he deterred by some Charlottesvillians’ confrontational style with city and elected officials. “That’s not unique to Charlottesville,” and he’s comfortable being in the hot seat, he said.

“If I’d been worried about being stressed, I never would have applied,” he said.

Richardson, 42, will earn $205,000. Before Texas, he worked two different stints in city government in Richmond, where he earned a Ph.D. from VCU.

While in Richmond, he said he was drawn to the vibrancy of Charlottesville when he came here during a Fridays After Five, and had always kept his eyes peeled for an opening in the city.

The new city manager, who starts May 13, also said he’s a UVA basketball fan. During the NCAA championship game, “I was probably the only one in Texas cheering for UVA,” he said.