NBC-29: Jones Offered City Manager Position

Interim City Manager Maurice Jones has been offered the job on a permanent basis, Henry Graff reports for NBC-29. The city isn’t talking, as contract negotiations are said to be underway, and Graff cites only “two city hall insiders” as his sources. He goes on to say that “sources inside city hall say Jones is the choice and has been at the top of the list all along.” After last week’s Progress story saying suggesting that Richard Brown was the top pick, one person involved in the hiring process e-mailed me, insisting that the paper had jumped the gun, and that the offer hadn’t gone to anybody at that point. Assuming that Graff’s story is right, I suspect that we won’t hear anything else until the city makes this official.

12/03 Update: The city made it official in an announcement this afternoon.

102 Responses to “NBC-29: Jones Offered City Manager Position”


  • Looking at page 10 in the .PDF containing the desired profile of the new manager as exprressed by the citizens responding to the survey http://www.springsted.com/images/Exec_Search/charlottesvilleva.pdf it is clear that Maurice Jones do not remotely fit the bill. What a farce that the city will sonn regret. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he’s a nice guy.

  • He’s “diverse,” which makes a lot of the rest, like actual experience or training irrelevant.

  • How did he beat out the Petersburg guy with over 20 years experience? Oh, that’s right. Just like he beat out the 150 more qualified people for the Asst. City Manager position. The “cult of personality” wins again. That’s too bad. Now they’ve got to do another long, draw out search to fill the Asst. City Manager position again instead of Jones just resuming that post.

  • Waldo, the DP never said Richard Brown was the top choice, only that he would not comment. While the other two finalists did comment, the paper didn’t imply that that meant Brown was the city’s pick.

  • Gary O’Connell’s performance should have convinced this Council that it needed to stick with the profile. i wonder if the filling of this position was mentioned at the last “Dialogue on Race.” 2the boss of me, I think you have hit the nail on the head. With projects like the $38M renovation of schools, the Belmont Bridge, Hillsdale, Ridge McIntire Extended, McIntire Park redesign, Ragged Mountain and South Fork Rivanna reservoirs, and Jefferson School on the horizon, we will not have people on Council or in the City Manager’s office to see it through. We can not rely upon Aubrey Watts’ staying much longer. Maybe people will learn to take elections more seriously in the future.

  • Aubrey Watts? AKA, the “triple-dipper”? He’s the driving force?

  • Yes, City Hall relies upon the fact that he has been a City Manager of two cities and the Deputy City Manager of Cville, running the city while Gary O’Connell was roaming the nation looking for examples of “best practices” (looking for another job). Gary O’Connell grew very dependent upon him, relinquishing, for example, all matters of the budget to Watts and Beauregard. It will still be that way if Jones becomes City Manager. He will also have to defer to Tolbert and Mueller since he doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Together with the talents and expertise of Council, the city will effectively have nobody at its head.

  • But what about “the cult of personality” (Jones)? He could be an very effective titular head. I say let’s commission a portrait of him to be hung in City Hall. Or maybe a statue on the Downtown Mall.

  • BTW, doesn’t “the cult of personality” live in Albemarle county? How is that going to play? Guess it’s time to buy that condo on the DT Mall as a second home. After all, you can afford it now.

  • I am under the impression that the top spots of local government are required to live in the city limits.

  • Well, Mr. C.O.P. has been the Asst. City Manager for two years whilst living in the county. So what’s up with that? Maybe it’s symbolic of the cohesive city/county symbiotic relationship.

  • I really wish we had a local version of Wikileaks. There must be people in City Hall who are disturbed by the way things work there. Maybe some are even regular posters here. If so, let this be a call to spill a few of the secrets.

    The candidate search was obviously a sham from the beginning and wasted who knows how much money to pull it off. The is simply no way that Jones is the most qualified among 80 applicants.

    I agree with Cville Eye, if this rumor is true, the City will effectively have no one at its head. We really deserve better than that.

  • I’m just speculating, but qualifications may not be the most important thing to the hiring committee. With Jones, they know what they’re getting. They know his management style and how he interacts with the Dept. Heads, the media, etc. He is beloved. Now if you go with the most qualified person then the “unknown” factor comes into play. The guy/gal might look good on paper and then come in and be hard to do business with and ruffle feathers. Better to be safe than sorry.

  • There is something wierd with employment for the city. I interviewed for 2 jobs which I was more than qualified for-cashier jobs actually in the front office of City Hall. In the interviews all they were interested in was project management. Now why the hell does one need pm skills to collect tax money etc. from local citizens?

    Naturally I didn’t get those jobs-I figure they already had someone lined up for them. It was kind of a surreal experience I gotta say. I haven’t applied for any other jobs there because it appears to be a big waste of time.

  • Now C’ville Weekly is saying it’s still up in the air between the two gents. The suspense builds.

  • @Dahlious Top spots. Assit is not top spot. And you may have something. TYhe City has been burned more than once (School Supe) and may like the idea of a known quality that is already respected…

  • Am I the only one who thinks that the salary for the position being between $165K and $190K is crazily high??

  • Don’t forget the generous package of benefits. Add like another $20,000 to that.

  • @ cville love – Nope, doesn’t seem crazily high for what the job is. I don’t know anything about the qualifications of the folks up for the job, but it’s a job that requires managing many hundreds of employees, a budget of about $127 million a year and dealing with political pressure in addition. Doesn’t seem out of site to me.

  • City Council this year changed the city code so as not to require that the Clerk of City Council not be required to live within the city (dumb) so maybe it changed the requirements for asst. city managers as well as department heads.
    @cville love, The elected county executive of Prince Georges County, MD earns $175,000 after two terms. The difference is there are 10 cities (and more towns than that) in that county and 800K people covering over 498 sq. mi. The City of Charlottesville has 40k people spread out over less than 11 sq. mi. You can’t accuse us of knowing the value of a dollar. That’s why over 80 people wasted their time applying for the job. They can’t make that kind of money anywhere else.

  • Forgot the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_George's_County,_Maryland#Cities_and_towns
    @chrisa, actually the former city manager, Gary O’Connell, didn’t manage the employees. everyone but the handful of employees in the City Manager’s Office were managed by Aubrey Watts. I think who does what is being negotiated with Council now. For some reason, some Council members have said they think they should have a say-so as to who is hired as department heads. This process has proven to me that Council shouldn’t be hiring anybody. With them, everything is who you like, who’s your buddy.

  • It appears the link doesn’t work even when you copy and paste it. Sorry. Look it up in Wikipedia and click on cities and towns.

  • @ Cville Eye, if he’s not managing employees then yeah, that’s probably too much money for a salary. What does the City Manager actually manage?

  • @Chris, there used to be a list of staffers here: http://www.charlottesville.org/Index.aspx?page=132 but that list is gone. It used to be the two asst. city managers, Department of Communications and the Dept. of the Budget. It appears there’s no current chain of command. Maybe it’s being renegotiated in order to hire Jones. I can’t imagine the Dept. of Public Works or the Dept of Neighborhood Services actually reporting to Jones, since he knows nothing about how to conduct their work and would have to work in their deprts. for several years to get a handle on it.

  • Waldo, the DP never said Richard Brown was the top choice, only that he would not comment. While the other two finalists did comment, the paper didn’t imply that that meant Brown was the city’s pick.

    I think that’s a fair point. Either Rachana Dixit strongly implied that Brown was the top choice in her article, or I inferred it, and in the interest of giving the benefit of the doubt, let’s just say it was my inference. Now I just have to figure out how to amend that sentence in a clear, simple way to make that point. :)

    TYhe City has been burned more than once (School Supe) and may like the idea of a known quality that is already respected…

    That’s an awfully good point, danpri. That was a total debacle, and the city is smart to want to avoid a repeat of that incident.

    I wonder how job references work for city managers? That must be an interesting process.

  • OK, I changed “saying” to “suggesting,” which isn’t quite as deferential as I’d like (it implies intent on Dixit’s part), but I can’t think of a better word to drop in there. :)

  • I must say, I’m a little surprised that the posters here haven’t delved into this appointment with their usual ardor. This is one of the “wonkiest” blogs around. With posters analyzing the nuances of water projects and other city matters with unabashed zeal. But for this critical position that will be overseeing the direction of the city for years to come everyone is suddenly surprising reserved. What gives? Perhaps it’s the political correctness genie rearing its jaundiced head.

  • Dhamius, would you define “political correctness genie?”

    There are some beginnings of a few things going on here…I expect part of the issue is that it’s such an insular position and hasn’t changed in so many years that the information simply isn’t as readily available. I’m learning quite a bit about what the position is actually responsible for. What I don’t know is what Maurice Jones’ responsibilities were as Asst. Mgr. and whether he’s qualified for whatever his new responsibilities will be.

  • Maurice Jones was a PC hire as assistant city manager. No real qualifications. good personality, got along with everyone and didn’t create waves (didn’t cause problems, looked good in the office)…These qualifications and these qualifications alone have now taken him to the threshold of becoming the City Manager of Charlottesville.
    I put maurice jones and a certain weather person on a local tv station in the same boat….lots of personality but no real qualifications for the job at hand….

  • It’s Dah-mius by the way. Sounds like…dumb-ass with a country twang. Get it?

  • After having a conversation with Rochelle Small-Toney several years ago, I was convinced that the Assistant City Manager spot was reserved as nothing but a PC position.

    Jones’s move to that job confirmed that for me. Sportscaster to City Spokesperson to Assistant City Manger with only a bachelor’s degree in communications? Really? And being an Assistant then Acting City Manger in a city that can’t balance it’s budget, deal with reducing pollution as required by EPA (yeah, green city), or even plow snow somehow makes him qualified to have the job for real?

    At least Jones is nice for whatever that is worth. Small-Toney struck me as rude, nasty, completely clueless, and unable to follow a simple conversation I was trying to have with her. It was like talking to someone at the DMV, maybe worse even.

    Funny thing is that Small-Toney is currently trying to make her position as Interim City Mangager of Savannah permanent.

    http://savannahnow.com/news/2010-05-31/rochelle-small-toney-ready-make-interim-city-manager-job-permanent
    A comment there echos my own feeling about her. “I get a bad feeling about her and don’t think she should get the post. I have only met her once and sometimes once is enough.” Honestly, I’d have to say the same about Maurice Jones.

  • I think the “political correctness genie” is overseeing this conversation now.

  • You have got to be kidding me. This is just…a farce…fast approaching time to sell out and quit paying taxes to the city. Maurice Jones is a WEATHERMAN and a JOKE. He’s worth $50k as a spokesman…if we really needed a “spokesman”.

    Oh, and for “analysis” from a “wonky” person, this is really easy: Scottie Griffin II, but “nicer”.

    Just unreal.

  • I meant wonky in a nice way.

  • Comparing Maurice Jones to Scottie Griffin is crazy. Maurice is personable and he’s smart. How about Tim Longo? As I recall this is his first chief of police job.

  • Maybe so, but he had plenty of experience and some nice degrees…

    http://www.inovasolutions.com/emergency-notification/resources/HEOA-eBook/chief-longo-bio.html

    But what’s wrong with just being a “Community Organizer”? We’ve got one in the White House and he’s doing a great job, right?

  • Tim Longo had a better resume than Bowen or Rittenhouse. Small-Toney was a big ZERO but at least she was some kind of administrator of public works. Frankly, I didn’t see anything wrong with Scottie Griffin. I am sorry that with her resume she came to a town that would elect know-nothings like Brown, Edwards, Norris and Szakos to Council. For parents to complain that Griffin was moving two elementary school teacher to another school was just downright stupid. Charlottesville Schools became the laughing stock around the state.

  • The School Board and the “agency” they used for their search failed to do due diligence. I wonder if they ever sued that search firm to recoup some of their losses. Probably not. What the hell, it’s just public funds.

  • With the discussion including Jones, Griffin and Small-Toney, is anyone thinking that the only reason Jones has gotten the job is because he’s black?
    @Chris, Jones’ responsibilities as an Assistant City Manager was simply to engage the business community with City Hall and to reach out to neighborhoods (associations), the local “black community” through the Jefferson School project which he inherited from Small-Toney(which has gone from a $9M project to an $18M – $21M project), and civic groups. A whole lot of talking and reporting.

  • “The School Board and the ‘agency’ they used for their search failed to do due diligence.” There is no evidence of that and that’s what you need in court.

  • Don’t forget the “Dialouge on Race” project.

  • Oh, please forget the “Dialogue on Race” project. I caught about ten minutes of it. They appeared to be discussing whether there is an achievement gap between Charlottesville’s white students as a group and its black students as a group. I turned it off after I figured out what they were talking about. Scottie Griffin ought to feel blessed that she is no longer here.

  • Comparing Maurice Jones to Scottie Griffin is crazy.

    Not by a long shot. Hardly qualified or technically competent and heavily favored due to skin color. His original hire was PC.

    I will definitely grant you this: he is a nice, pleasant and generally like-able personality and not a vindictive sociopath like Griffin.

    Oh, and my bad: he was a sportscaster, not a weatherman. It’s been so long since I watched him on 29, I’d forgotten. Certainly his broadcasting background qualified him for the PR/Spokesperson job, but then I still really wonder if we need such a person. This is a small town – the City is

  • Has anybody taken the time to check out maurices edumacation background. I would hope that he has some type of college degree. Also, as far as “longo” goes, his personnel file was sealed when he left baltimore and the city never even saw it (personnel file never made public) to the best of my knowledge…I do know that right after he got here he turned the swat team lose on a shack on nall street, where two old people were living, while looking for an illegal credit card user. Swat team destroyed the house. JMHO.

  • Waldo, if these comments aren’t so offensive that they need to be deleted, why exactly was mine? I raised almost the exact same issues.

  • To C’ville Eye – I wouldn’t say it’s the “only reason”. But I do think it is a consideration. Has there ever been a minority City Manager in the history of C’ville before? If not, then this council would be perceived as being very forward thinking and focused on empowerment and diversity, which is a good thing. So qualifications be damned.

    By the way, what did Smokin’ Joe Biden say about Obama back during the campaign? I think it was something like…

    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

  • If you look on the panel on the left the only other staff member listed under the City Manager is the Assistant City Manager.
    According to the link above Long has quite an extensive set of credentials. Also he has a degree in law.

  • Hail to the new leadership. Maybe there’s some “hopey, changey” things to come.

  • There’s not going to be any changes. So that everybody can get what he asks for in the city, the city is talking about borrowing even more money. What’s different? Nothing. Those characters including the new CM do not know anything else to do.

  • Maybe Szakos could start charging for those brownies or cookies she serves to the public at each Council meeting.

  • I wonder what’s in the brownies? Maybe that’s why the Council members are always smiling.

  • If I fall out of this chair one more time, I’m going to break a hip.

  • Waldo, if these comments aren’t so offensive that they need to be deleted, why exactly was mine? I raised almost the exact same issues.

    I didn’t delete any comments. Heck, I hadn’t even read these until now—it’s been a busy day at work. Sometimes comments are held up by the spam filter, but I usually notice those within a few hours and OK them. There’s not a thing in the spam filter now. Personally, I don’t think such comments are as much offensive as they are embarrassing to read. Anybody who believes that Maurice Jones isn’t qualified for the job could find any number of reasons to speculate as to why he was hired—I can’t see why race should appear very high on that list. (Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.)

    What’s worse—hiring somebody because of his race, or falsely accusing somebody of having been hired because of his race?

  • The former.

  • “Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color?” The same people who insisted we have a black superintendent? The same people who took forever to appoint Bill Emory to the Planning Commission because they were waiting for a black (in good stead with the Democratic Party) to apply? The same people who see to it that there’s one and only one black on Council at any time? The same people that will see that the black city manager will not actually run the city (That way it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know anything about running a city or not)? It is embarrassing that people refuse to admit the role that race plays in Charlottesville.

  • Maybe I somehow failed to post correctly. I’ll see what I can do to reconstruct what I wrote.

    Anybody who won’t admit that the only thing Holly Edwards has to offer to council is that she is black simply isn’t being honest. Before she opted not to run again, Kendra Hamilton even noted that she was waiting to see if an appropriate successor could be found.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Cville has huge and potentially explosive racial problems that need to be addressed and I’m all for having a racially diverse city council, it’s just that I would opt for competence over diversity. For the time being we only have diversity.

  • at the Hook article about Mr. Jones:

    O’Connell is reluctant to offer advice to his successor, but when pressed, says, “My only advice is he help us find a solution to the water supply situation.” The city and county have been divided on a long-term water supply plan, but O’Connell says he believes they’re close.

    I certainly hope that Mr. Jones does not agree with Mr. O’Connell’s assessment that a water plan is the communities most pressing problem.

    We have plenty of water, but we are running out of money, and our sewer system is crumbling. There are major cuts in state funding on the way. This is the real crisis, not a lack of water.

    from the Staunton Newsleader:

    Cuts proposed by the state’s Medicaid agency would also affect mental health care, including:

    — As much as $12 million in payments for community mental health services

    — As much as $5.5 million for mental health case management

    — As much as $4 million for day treatment services

    Because state payments are matched by federal funds, the loss to local mental health agencies would be twice as large.

    Among other proposed cuts:

    — Eliminating $5 million of state funds for Comprehensive Services Act programs for the state’s most troubled youth

    — Making cities and counties pay a larger share of Comprehensive Services Act school programs, saving the state $3.9 million

    — Cutting the state share of spending for foster care for troubled youth, to save $7.5 million

    — Cutting operating rates that Medicaid pays to nursing homes, to save as much as $37 million; cutting rates for outpatient treatment to save as much as $19 million, cutting fees for doctors to save as much as $26 million.

    http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/073b9cbfdb0c4818ae6fac19d5e9ddb5/VA–Budget_Cuts/

  • Anybody who believes that Maurice Jones isn’t qualified for the job could find any number of reasons to speculate as to why he was hired—I can’t see why race should appear very high on that list. (Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.)

    Ok Pollyanna…whatever you say. While I would not allege that Jones was selected solely on the basis of skin color, I think you’d have to be a bit credulous to believe that race was not a factor in the minds of the politicians making the selection.

    My last comment was truncated – I elaborated on what I thought the similarities were with Griffin. But here’s another one: lots of “progressive city democrats” rather openly discussed the importance of having an African American in the top slot for the first time in a school system where African American students make up the largest ethnic block (or very nearly so). It was very clear that an African American would be the ultimate choice, but not necessarily which one.

    As you will well remember from the many posts and discussions on cvillenews.com, when it became apparent that Griffin was incompetent the arguments in her defense nearly all made the case that she was under attack for being African American. To pretend that this dynamic is non-existent in city politics – to pretend that it is surprising – is a bit much.

    I don’t think Jones was chosen for any one reason, but if I had to pick one, I’d say it’s because he inhabits the same monkey-sphere as City Council – the Councilors and current city government. Of course he’s going to know all the right issues to touch on and right words to say to “nail the interview.” Duh. Inside hire.

    The fake naivete you profess regarding race does not serve anything in this process. This is not a technocratic hire, it’s a political hire. These political issues are and should be a part of the process – sadly, I feel we didn’t get the most technically competent candidate. Maybe Jones will surprise me – I don’t think a MPA (or similar credential) is the sine qua non of a good candidate, but I’m really really skeptical.

  • Hear, hear. Very well expressed. I like this new term too. Never seen it used before…

    Monkeyspere – The limited capacity of primates to conceptualize others as distinct and relevant individuals. Studies suggest that for humans this limit is about 150 people, and those outside the monkeysphere are not really considered people at all, but one-dimensional bit characters.

  • A friend told me over breakfast this morning that he feels that the highest priority of Norris, Szakos and Edwards is increasing low income housing in the city and Jones is a strong supporter. It’s supposed to cost upwards to $150M and will need a lot of local money. My friend who works for the city is usre Jones was hired in order for this project to continue to be funded even after these three are no longer on Council. I reminded him the city manager has a contract with a termination date. He reminded me that there’s no telling what Council will do. He thinks that Council was afraid that if they hired someone from sonwhere else, that manager would tell them not to create large pockets of poverty in the city and would work against it with future Councils. Interesting idea. I suspect with Jones’ face on this project there will be fewer cries of racism as here http://blog.schillingshow.com/2010/08/24/guest-editorial-housing-authoritys-explosive-expansion-may-explode/comment-page-1/#comment-799

  • Very interesting short interview by Coy Barefoot http://www.wina.com/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=5036631

    Take a few minutes to listen to issues of priority.

  • Pretty softball, butt-kissing interview, but hey, don’t rain on his parade.

  • Going back to the assumption that the state plans massive cuts to social support services for cities, one has to wonder where the City Manager will find the money, that is now slated to come from the state, for medicaid services to be provided to the occupants of the new SRO housing planned for 4th street and other medicaid dependent populations in the City. This could amount to millions of dollars, if you look at the proposed cuts above.

  • Council plans to tax and borrow in order to spend. http://cvilletomorrow.typepad.com/charlottesville_tomorrow_/2010/12/fy2012-budget-worksession.html After all, we in Charlottesville must have whatever anybody asks for.

  • You all have to be fair. He may not have a wealth of experience and he may have been hired because he won’t challenge a Council full of small-minded social focus, but he does want the best for the city and most on this blog are those with a history of talking big smack against the city. Don’t take your personal issues (formerly employees) and make them a reflection on him. Give him a chance and step away from the computer for five minutes.

  • Of course, the City always has to tax and/or borrow in order to spend. And projecting an increase of 1.9% in tax revenue seems like it could be a result of an improving economy and more tourists along with higher property values.

  • I don’t think you understand how serious government is. He is running $142M without any knowledge of how to do it. BTW he is also a former city employee that was competent at what he did. Now he’s one of the incompetents. If you had a brain tumor, would you give me a chance to operate? Maybe I could fly your plane? May I build your house or deliever your child? Let me try managing you retirement accounts. One day maybe you’ll grow up and take an adult view of good government.

  • The fake naivete you profess regarding race does not serve anything in this process.

    Go ahead and disagree with me, but please don’t call me a liar.

    What I wrote was:

    Anybody who believes that Maurice Jones isn’t qualified for the job could find any number of reasons to speculate as to why he was hired—I can’t see why race should appear very high on that list. (Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.)

    What, specifically, do you think is naïve about that? Indeed, what about that could a rational person even disagree with?

  • @Chris, my response was to Come On Folks’s comment, not yours. Just clarigying. Did you read the article whose link I supplied above? It makes it clear that there are ramifications to that approach in government financing.

  • For the life of me I can’t see how the voting resisdents of the city of charlottesville continue to tolerate this progressive liberalism which is ruining the city. The cities infrastructure, sewer, gas, water lines and city streets/roads are falling apart and we continue to stroll merrily down the road with dingbats in control…

  • What, specifically, do you think is naïve about that? Indeed, what about that could a rational person even disagree with?

    This, right here:

    Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.

    Seriously? Ok, let’s spell it out: you’re rather transparently engaging in Reductio Ad Absurdum and it would be fine except that you’re engaging in a false dichotomy. Nobody suggested “solely” in the comments, until you did. The question was floated and then shot down by earlier commenters – the first comments to bring up race.

    I’m not saying that the “winner”s should have an MPA or any other academic credential – but we’re talking about someone who:

    – was a sportscaster (media face)
    – spokesman (media face)
    – fundraiser (again: public face@ your current Miller Center location)
    – 2 year stint as Asst. City Manager.

    He’s done a great job as a public face – the first three positions (though I have no idea of his track record at Miller – the center certainly seemed to be growing during his tenure in that job).

    He may have had some real technocratic experience in the Asst. seat, but the other two top picks appear to have had more. Mr. Jones may be a very quick and capable study, but a few more years in the assistant’s seat seem appropriate to me.

    The object of having a professional city manager rather than a managing mayor is precisely to separate the political from the technical. Of course that will never be a pure separation, but it appears that ‘we’ (the city) is moving in the direction of making the City Manager a purely political position, and now the technocrats are the assistants. Enough already.

    My final comment on race: for the record, while I believe the main qualifications should be technical and experience, I do believe race should be a part of it, and I do believe that it should have counted towards the final selection. It should tip the selection among really comparable candidates. I feel that Justice O’Connor’s Grutter opinion gets it right on this issue, and offers some real wisdom for our thinking. Dr. Atkins has proven to be a tremendous success and her race has contributed to that (though it’s not the main reason).

    I think we should grow up and be honest – speak openly about – race, instead of pretending we don’t think about it. The “pc” problem is that any criticism is translated into a charge of racism, a dynamic that hinders having any real conversation on race.

  • What, specifically, do you think is naïve about that? Indeed, what about that could a rational person even disagree with?

    This, right here:

    Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.

    Seriously? Ok, let’s spell it out: you’re rather transparently engaging in Reductio Ad Absurdum and it would be fine except that you’re engaging in a false dichotomy.

    So what you’re saying is that I am quite correct—that, in fact, there is nothing that I said that any reasonable person would disagree with.

    Nobody suggested “solely” in the comments, until you did. The question was floated and then shot down by earlier commenters – the first comments to bring up race.

    Simply placing a question mark at the end of a suggestion doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been brought up. To wit:

    With the discussion including Jones, Griffin and Small-Toney, is anyone thinking that the only reason Jones has gotten the job is because he’s black?

    And the rest of your comment is…er…agreeing with me more. I’m not quite sure what the problem is here, Scott.

  • So what you’re saying is that I am quite correct—that, in fact, there is nothing that I said that any reasonable person would disagree with.

    Oh please – “logical” is the word you’re searching for – yes, sure, your logic is impeccable. Look up Ad Absurdum Waldo. Congratulations! You are such a zingy provacateur!

    Your original assertion in this (and I don’t honestly recall it elsewhere) is that it’s simply outlandish or somehow beyond the ken to bring up race. Yes, a reasonable person would (and I am here) disagree that assertion. You better believe it popped into many reasonable heads – in both positive and negative contexts – the minute his appointment, over more technically qualified candidates, was announced.

  • “With the discussion including Jones, Griffin and Small-Toney, is anyone thinking that the only reason Jones has gotten the job is because he’s black?”
    Waldo, that’s taken from my comment.
    @Scoot, I’ve already detailed most of Jones’ responsibilites in the comment in which I made the statement that
    Waldo is having problems with. Someone else was nice enough to ad the Jefferson School project. Click on Waldo’s link “To wit” to review them.
    @Scott, ” It should tip the selection among really comparable candidates.” I would like for you to clarify this statement. Let’s say a white, a black and an Asian were equally qualified. Are you saying that the white should definitely NOT get it? If so, which race race should be the determinant between the black and the Asian?

  • @Waldo, I guess I should have said, “If Jones had not been black he would not have gotten the job.” I know this in my heart. With the use of the question mark, I wanted the commenters to come right out and say what they were thinking all of the time. It was evident to me when Karl Ackerman brought Dr. Griffin. Since she never applied for that position why bring her up?

  • Waldo, you know what, you’re right:

    “Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.”

    …and our City Council never does anything crazy, does it? I absolutely stand corrected.

    @Cville Eye: “Let’s say a white, a black and an Asian were equally qualified. Are you saying that the white should definitely NOT get it? If so, which race race should be the determinant between the black and the Asian?”

    I’m not saying anyone “should definitely NOT get it”.

    I’m saying that if they are all three equally qualified that in a place like Charlottesville – a southern town with actively discriminatory (against African Americans – not Asians or Caucasians) official policies (Massive Resistance, Vinegar Hill “urban renewal”) still within living memory of many citizens, there is a real and tangible value (for all of us) in visibly demonstrating that such policies and attitudes are dead.

    Also: I brought up Scottie Griffin, not Karl Ackerman. He defended her (as you did), and I posted another long one (which got truncated) detailing what I though the similarities were. I do not think Maurice Jones is nearly as poisonous or bad as Griffin was. Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.

    Well, I’ve spouted off enough about this. I genuinely wish that Jones does well. It’s entirely possible for him to be a good leader and manager without being well versed in the details of administrivia in every area of city government. I hope he demonstrates his love of Charlottesville by moving into town and joining the rest of us who pay taxes to underwrite the city’s activities. I’m looking forward to seeing what he proposes to do about the falling revenues (yes, I know the CW is that they’ll hike the tax rate).

  • I’ll go out on a high-note, too. I used to know Jones fairly well and he is a man of integrity. Plus he’s honest and like someone else said, a pretty smart fellow. I’m confident in the long run, he’ll do a great job.

  • Your original assertion in this (and I don’t honestly recall it elsewhere) is that it’s simply outlandish or somehow beyond the ken to bring up race.

    No, that was not my assertion. What I said was this:

    Anybody who believes that Maurice Jones isn’t qualified for the job could find any number of reasons to speculate as to why he was hired—I can’t see why race should appear very high on that list. (Who in the world would hire somebody incompetent to run their city solely because of their skin color? That’s nuts.)

    If there’s any point of disagreement that we have here, I think it’s that I think that there are all kinds of reasons why a person might be hired, and that skin color is just one of a whole mess of factors. I think you’re agreeing with me that it’s OK for that to be one of many factors, but asserting that it played a particularly large role in this case. My position is that there’s no special reason to suspect that, that there are probably a great deal of factors that are more important, and that it’s insulting to Jones to assert that he was hired almost entirely on the basis of his race (as Cville Eye confirms is his position).

  • @Scoot, Karl Ackerman first mentioned Scottie Griffin, not you.

    I’m saying that if they are all three equally qualified that in a place like Charlottesville – a southern town with actively discriminatory (against African Americans – not Asians or Caucasians) official policies (Massive Resistance, Vinegar Hill “urban renewal”) still within living memory of many citizens, there is a real and tangible value (for all of us) in visibly demonstrating that such policies and attitudes are dead.

    Vinegar Hill – the majority of businesses that were removed by urban renewal were owned and operated by whites (Settle Tire, Studebaker and Rambler car sales, appliance sotres and furniture stores) and the vast majority of commercial buildings buildings were also owned by whites. All of that is a matter of record substantiate by CRHA records. Alot of blacks who were displaceed from the area were houses that were also owned by whites, although a sizeable number of the blacks who were displaced owned their own homes. As yes there were whites who lived on Venegar Hill. This story is not told for political reasons.
    Garrett-South First Stree-Sixth-Diggs Street-Dice Street-Oak Street: Both black and whites were displaced from their homes; however, the vast majority of buinesses that were torn down were owned by whites. It seems a lot of whites suffered from the same discrimination you say was only applied to blacks. I know, I was here at that time and you obviously were not.
    Massive Resistance – neither blacks, Asians, mulattoes or Native Americans could attend white schools in Virginia and other places around the country. For example, the first school desegration cases won were brought against a city in California that was denying Mexican Americans access to whites-only schools http://www.law.uconn.edu/content/new-book-mendez-v-westminster-school-desegregation-and-mexican-american-rights

  • Vinegar Hill – the majority of businesses that were removed by urban renewal were owned and operated by whites (Settle Tire, Studebaker and Rambler car sales, appliance sotres and furniture stores) and the vast majority of commercial buildings buildings were also owned by whites. All of that is a matter of record substantiate by CRHA records. Alot of blacks who were displaceed from the area were houses that were also owned by whites, although a sizeable number of the blacks who were displaced owned their own homes.

    Interesting!

    Massive Resistance – neither blacks, Asians, mulattoes or Native Americans could attend white schools in Virginia and other places around the country.

    While true, I think it’s good to keep in mind that, for many of the non-black students affected, this is a bit like the notion that it’s as much a crime for a rich man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man.

  • Sorry to be thick, but could you explain this?

    “While true, I think it’s good to keep in mind that, for many of the non-black students affected, this is a bit like the notion that it’s as much a crime for a rich man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man.”

  • I think that it’s a humanitarian observation, as in “am I my brother’s keeper”? I think the answer to that is supposed to be “yes”.

  • @ But you said ” It [race]should tip the selection among really comparable candidates.” I am assuming that the “tipping” should be towards a person of color, so I want to know which color? Maybe we ought to punt both of them and select a Mexican-American?

  • Sorry to be thick, but could you explain this?

    “While true, I think it’s good to keep in mind that, for many of the non-black students affected, this is a bit like the notion that it’s as much a crime for a rich man to sleep under a bridge as it is for a poor man.”

    I think the expression puzzled me the first time I heard it some years ago, too. :) The idea is that applying a rule universally doesn’t make it fair. If vagrancy is illegal, that’s clearly a law that’s unfair to people who are too poor to afford houses. In theory, sure, it’s as illegal for a wealthy man to sleep under a bridge as a poor man, but practically speaking, that’s a law meant to force impoverished people out of town. Likewise, when the schools were shut down, a far greater percentage of black students were left without any other options than non-black students. That was for a bunch of reasons, including that the black families tended to be less well-off and couldn’t afford to send their kids to private schools, and also because the parents of black kids tended to be less well-educated (that being the crux of the problem) and so not able to educate their children themselves.

    (St. Anne’s-Belfield prospered under Massive Resistance. It’s no coincidence that Belfield was founded in 1957, three years after Brown v. Board of Education, two years after black Charlottesville residents started applying for admission to white schools, one year after Sen. Byrd called for massive resistance and Charlottesville schools were ordered by the court to desegregate, the same year that violence broke out across the south as schools were forcibly integrated, and mere months before Virginia schools were shut down.)

    Anyhow, yeah, that’s the story there.

  • Waldo, you did not read the link to the article in the Hook about Eugene Williams’ comments about Massive Resistance. http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/02/williams-massive-resistance-hurt-whites-too/
    It is a common misunderstanding as to what happened to black children’s education during Massive resistance. The legislature passed the Resistance laws that said that any white school that a local school board chose to desegregate would be closed down. Charlottesville chose to send 3 black student to Lane High and 6 or 7 blacks to Venable. Lane and Venable were then shut. Not the black schools of Burley or Jefferson. They stayed open to hundreds of black students. However, over 1000 white students were denied public education for a year. The 10 or so black students assigned to the white schools were assigned to a little house on the property of Venable for “tutorial.” It was in Farmville that all of the schools were closed. Here in Charlottesville all of the other schools stayed open except for Lane and Venable. Thus, about 10 black students were denied schooling that year and over a thousand white.
    Also, the VAST majority of white parents could not afford to send their children to private schools such as St. Anne’s. Nor could all whites afford to send their childred away to live with relatives so that their children to go to school there. Thus, a number of parents and some teachers and professors volunteered to tutor many of the white students in basements of homes and churches. Of course, most of the “teachers” were not certified or qualified, even and the children received no graduation credits. But at least the kids were kept busy, off the streets and reading. As Lane and Venable were re-opening the next school term, the die-hards scratched together enough money to start the private Rock Hill Academy with a handful of students. Again, only 10 or so black students in Charlottesville Schools were denied an education while over a thousand whites were. It has taken me years to figure out that most people who were not here during those days think that all of the schools were closed.

  • I wasn’t here at that time. I had been under the impression that all the schools were closed. Interesting to finally hear otherwise.

  • @the boss of me, did you read the article about Eugene Williams? He was one of the local NAACP leaders at the time and his daughters (two I think) were involved in the initial Charlottesville lawsuit around 1956 (it’s too late at night to call him and confirm the date). Unfortunately the stories of Massive Resistance and urban renewal are full of rumors that haven’t been collaborated and misinormation purposefully promulgated, that the real stories, though bad enough, have never been told clearly enough that we can actually learn much from it.But as you can see, the story of blacks and whites in this community were inextricably intwined stretching as far back at least to the 1700’s. Yet we concentrate on a decade spanning the 60’s.
    St. Anne’s has always had a small enrollment. A couple of years ago, it had a graduating class of 88. Also, historically the vast majority of students did not hail from central VA. That’s why it had boarding students. The majority of students who started at Belfied were not predominantly Charlottesvillians either. Although tuition was cheaper than at St. Anne’s, most Charlottesvillians couldn’t afford it and those that could usually sent their children to the same schools their families had supported for years.

  • Waldo, you did not read the link to the article in the Hook about Eugene Williams’ comments about Massive Resistance.

    Sure I did. I was responding to your point about “schools in Virginia and other places around the country,” not speaking specifically about Charlottesville (save for my digression about STAB).

    It has taken me years to figure out that most people who were not here during those days think that all of the schools were closed.

    Not here or, in the case of a great many of us, not born. In 1956 even my parents were too young to be in public schools.

  • I remember when they formed Belfield’s from a merger of existing schools but I don’t recall the names nor the locations. I think one was on 250W (Bellair) but I don’t remember a private school at any particular location downtown.

  • C-ville eye I can’t swear to it but I believe there was a church downtown that held classes for some students affected by the closure of the schools…(the church locations had nothing to do with stab)….Do you recall this?…….I believe your may be pointing out something I have been thinking about for a long time and that is that the majority of blacks during intergreation in charlottesville did not suffer as much as a larger number of white student.

  • I’ve been mulling jogger’s comment all day and am still aghast, agape, and amazed. It’s kind of like focusing on the problems of the plantation owners & their families after slavery was outlawed.

    Of course racism hurts the racist as well as the object of derision du jour. That’s just one of a plethora of reasons why racism is a bad idea.

    But I guarantee that whites did not suffer more than blacks during segregation, and there is no microcosm to gerrymander into being in which that is the case.

  • Barbara, it looks like you have gerrymandered jogger’s statement into something that fits your prepared response. That is if you are referring to the statement “the majority of blacks during intergreation in charlottesville did not suffer as much as a larger number of white student.”

    Seems to me that he/she is talking about the period during which some local schools were closed. It is my understanding, and I sincerely hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong, that in fact local officials did not close the schools but rather attempted to integrate them. (I’, omitting some possibly relevant details for brevity’s sake see http://www.vahistory.org/massive.resistance/timeline.html quoting Eugene Williams who said “No other Southern City has accepted desegregation as well as Charlottesville has.” That attempted integration was met with disapproval from the Governor, who actually ordered the closing.

    The question of whether more whites than blacks were denied a public school education during that particular period is an interesting one and worthy of discussion, not knee-jerk accusations of racism in order to shut it down. If you have facts, or even an opinion about the actual point that was raised, please weigh in with them.

  • Jogger — read my post again, would you, please? The racists I refer to are the segregationalists of fifty years ago. Nothing knee-jerk at all about calling them racists, just a fact.

    This blog posting is about our new city manager. Race has come up as a topic and the thread has meandered as these things often do. Do I believe race was a part of Jones’ appointment — absolutely. And it may have been appropriately a part of it. I don’t know enough about Jones to weigh in on whether he’s a good choice or not. My main “ism” towards the man is that I’m prejudiced against sports casters and have a hard time believing they’re, well, smart. That’s my knee-jerk here, so feel free to call me on that one now that I’ve mentioned it.

    Massive resistance was stupid in a way I’ve come to believe only the South can serve up and, often, be proud of. Massive cutting off of noses to spite faces. Choosing to boycott anything can degrade your quality of life; sometimes it’s worth it. At the time of massive resistance, white Virginians felt it was a worth it to boycott public education. The white people I know who were here & school-aged at the time, seem to have come out of the experience with a heightened activism against racism: mostly because it did indeed cost them something. That’s just the folks I know; I’m sure there are many varieties of experience with many varieties of results.

    My main point above, was that focusing on the suffering (which word alone was a poor choice) of white students during massive resistance is but one minute part of the damage of racism. And focusing on a backlash element of racism (or any ism) often leads to a conclusion along the lines of: “it’s bad for them, it’s bad for us, it’s bad for everyone, so let’s stop talking about it now”. We do keep looping back to talking about racism, because we stop talking too soon and stop doing to soon. We’re not done with it. That’s why saving the Jefferson School was so important for the community (ten years later, I’m not certain whether we actually accomplished that or not); it’s why we are having a dialogue on race in this city; it’s why I’m sure we’ll find some other vehicle to repeat this conversaion in another five or ten years again.

    We’re not done. And shifting focus to negative impacts on the perpetrating group doesn’t really help us get done. It’s so demonstrably apples to oranges that communication is impaired, not enhanced.

  • http://www.vahistory.org/massive.resistance/newspaper.CEF.html

    This article certainly implies that all white children from Lane and Venable were provided a “segregated private education” at the cost of the Foundation.

    Also, a federal judge ordered the integration of the schools, it was not a decision made by a progressive city council.

  • There’s also the reality that the education provided to black children wasn’t worth very much.

  • Former Teacher, it’s hard to see where you draw your conclusion from. That article implies that someone sent out “an urgent appeal” for space. If that were enough to make certain that something happened then I would immediately send out an urgent appeal for the city to hire someone with more qualifications than Jones. I have little doubt one was among the 80 applicants for the job.

    It has already been mentioned above that some children were schooled in homes and church basements. It seems pretty unlikely that “all” children had that opportunity or even the inclination to go to something other than public schools if not compelled to. I would guess that many who were freed from school were put to work in family businesses, or around the home, or just ran around and got into trouble.

    Another reality to consider is that the public school education provided to many if not most American children of all races isn’t worth very much. I’m not in any way advocating segregation, it’s just that integration wasn’t a magic bullet.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/education/07education.html?src=me&ref=general

  • Really? the first sentence about the Foundation being ready to provide private schooling to all children dislocated by the closure of Lane/Venable doesn’t imply that all (white) children were provided access to school during the school closure? I don’t know that all took advantage of the opportunity, but the opportunity was there for them.

    I also disagree with your assertion that public school education isn’t worth very much to many if not most American children. It is amazing how different the outcomes of a study are depending on how various things were operationalized.

  • Nothing about the article that you linked to comes close to saying the opportunity for was made available to all students. It says a group of people were asking for help in attempting to achieve that goal.

    The article doesn’t say what the response to the Foundation’s appeal was and it doesn’t say anything about that organization’s own success in creating an opportunity whatever the response may have been. It says nothing about how many students availed themselves of whatever opportunity the Foundation was able to provide. I know from accounts that I have heard from people who were students at that time that they did not participate in the Foundation’s programs.

    I went to quite a few different public schools. Some were good, many were awful. There were in the past and still are awful schools all over the country. Would you really send your kids to Richmond or say Detroit public schools? I’m sure there are even worse places to be a student. http://film.waitingforsuperman.com/videos

    The education that many colleges and universities in this country offer is often awful as well. In fact, several of the worst teachers I ever had held master’s degrees in education from Virginia State University, that despite being unable to speak or write coherently in English or even teach their subjects. That’s a separate but unequal system that would raise howls if anyone tried to touch it or make those students meet real college level standards of achievement.

    Nice use of the word “operationalized” BTW.

  • According to this:

    http://www.vahistory.org/massive.resistance/newspaper.poll.html

    there were 459 parents at Venable, and 177 preferred integration to closure.

    According to this:

    http://www.vahistory.org/massive.resistance/timeline.html

    334 elementary students attended private schools during the closure. Presumably, some of the 177 chose to keep their children from school out of solidarity with the excluded black students. (I know I would have–we could easily have maintained our son’s academic progress during the closure).

    My assertion that all students were offered spots is from the first sentence of the DP article:

    “The Charlottesville Educational Foundation said today it is ready to provide private schooling “without undue delay” for Venable Elementary and Lane High School students if the two schools are closed by state law.”

    “ready to provide” means “ready to provide” not “intending to provide” in my understanding of language.

  • @Chris, actually some of theb black students were told that their test scores were too high and they were told they should remain at their former school. There was a committee that was apointed to determine what school the applicants could attend. During That, nor since then for that matter, did I hear anyone black say that the education that they received had been inferior. It seems that many didn’t see any reason to walk past a white school in order to go to a black.

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