Richmond’s Charter Review Commission options could change how mayor, council is elected

Richmond’s City Charter Review Commission is pouring over that lengthy, 55-page document that spells out exactly how local government is supposed to function.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 1:18 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond’s City Charter Review Commission is pouring over a lengthy, 55-page document that spells out exactly how local government should function.

That includes deciding if a mayor should run the city or someone else.

“To evaluate whether or not the form of government that we’re in, that Richmond changed to almost 20 years ago, is working for people and whether or not commiserate to other localities, this structure or form of government makes sense for the City of Richmond,” said Stephanie Lynch, Richmond City Councilor.

Richmond used to have a city manager running the day-to-day operations. That changed in 2004, putting a mayor with power at the top of city hall instead.

The commission is looking at various models already in place around the commonwealth.

“Some of them more big picture in terms of how city council interfaces with the mayor and the balance of powers and some things that need to be changed,” said Kristen Nye, Richmond City Councilor.

Of Virginia’s 38 cities, Richmond is the only one without a council-manager form of government.

“Every version from a city manager form of government to having an elected mayor who serves as a voting member of city council, there’s really about five major models that they’re kind of looking at,” said Councilor Lynch.

Richmond’s current mayor spoke to the commission about the pros and cons of the job and where he thinks things can be improved.

“I’ve told them how I felt about some of the recommendations that have been put out there, and I think they will get somewhere,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Any proposed changes to the city’s charter would have to be finalized by the city council and ultimately approved by voters through a referendum.

Meanwhile, the commission is looking for input from you. A survey goes live on Friday, or you can attend a meeting on May 23 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Richmond Police Academy on West Graham Road.

You can find more information here.