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Charlottesville City Manager and Police Chief Keep Jobs For Now

Andrew Shurtleff / The Daily Progress via AP, Pool

Charlottesville’s city council met behind closed doors Thursday to review the performance of manager Maurice Jones and police chief Al Thomas. There were rumors both might be fired or resign over the violent events of August 12th as Sandy Hausman reports.

When an angry crowd disrupted Monday’s city council meeting, some people demanded that Mayor Mike Signer resign. They were furious with him and city council for giving white supremacists a permit to rally, and they were appalled by the failure of police to protect the public. Signer was apparently stunned by the criticism and posted a defense on Facebook. He pointed out that under Charlottesville’s system of government, the city’s manager had great powers – that the police chief reported to him and not to the mayor. Signer complained that police refused to brief him before the events of August 12th and didn’t allow him into the command center. 

So when council announced it was meeting to discuss an emergency personnel matter, some assumed the manager and police chief might be fired, but as he emerged from that meeting, Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy said that was not the case.

“There were some mistakes that were made, and there definitely is room for improvement on all fronts. Like, we all have things that we wish we would have done differently, and we're looking to learn from these situations and try to grow as a community.”

Signer assured reporters no one was getting fired but said a comprehensive independent evaluation would be done. Until then, he expressed full confidence in the city’s management and police.

"We've got a police force 130 strong. We're one of the best cities in the world. We're trying to shift the focus toward not just healing, but love conquering hate."

Toward that end, he said, the city would host a community recovery town hall at 3 p.m. Sunday in the performance center of Charlottesville High School. Mediation experts from the U.S. Justice Department will moderate. 

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief
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