Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Statement on Monument Avenue


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When I spoke about the monuments earlier this summer, it was from an optimism that we can take the power away from these statues by telling their true story, for the first time.

As I said in June, it is my belief that, as they currently stand without explanation, the confederate statues on Monument Avenue are a default endorsement of a shameful period in our national and city history that do not reflect the values of inclusiveness, equality and diversity we celebrate in today’s Richmond. 

I wish they had never been built. 

Still, I believed that as a first step, there was a need to set the historical record straight. That is why I asked the Monument Avenue Commission to solicit public input and to suggest a complete and truthful narrative of these statues, who built them and why they were erected. 

When it comes to these complicated questions that involve history, slavery, Jim Crow and war, we all must have the humility to admit that our answers are inherently inadequate. These are challenges so fundamental to the history of our country, commonwealth, and city that reducing them to the question of whether or not a monument should remain is, by definition, an oversimplification. 

But context is important in both historical, and present day, perspectives. While we had hoped to use this process to educate Virginians about the history behind these monuments, the events of the last week may have fundamentally changed our ability to do so by revealing their power to serve as a rallying point for division and intolerance and violence. 

These monuments should be part of our dark past and not of our bright future. I personally believe they are offensive and need to be removed. But I believe more in the importance of dialogue and transparency by pursuing a responsible process to consider the full weight of this decision. 

Effective immediately, the Monument Avenue Commission will include an examination of the removal and/or relocation of some or all of the confederate statues.

Continuing this process will provide an opportunity for the public to be heard and the full weight of this decision to be considered in a proper forum where we can have a constructive and civil dialogue.

Let me be clear: we will not tolerate allowing these statues and their history to be used as a pretext for hate and violence, or to allow our city to be threatened by white supremacists and neo-Nazi thugs. We will protect our city and keep our residents safe.

As I said a few weeks ago, our conversation about these Monuments is important. But what is more important to our future is focusing on building higher-quality schools, alternatives to our current public housing that provide dignity and safety for all, and policies to provide opportunities for all Richmonders to succeed.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Public Schedule of the Mayor: August 16 - 18



Wednesday, August 16

11 a.m.        Mayor to attend special announcement at Kings Dominion
                   16000 Theme Park Way
                    Doswell, VA

11:30 a.m.   Brown Bag Lunch with Department of Public Utilities
                    400 Jefferson Davis Highway
                    Closed Press

2:30 p.m.     Mayor to deliver remarks at Mayor’s Youth Academy closing event
                    101 E. Franklin St.

Thursday, August 17

10 a.m.       Mayor to participate in Hillside Community Walk
                   1500 Hardwood St.

Friday, August 18

10 a.m.       Mayor to deliver remarks at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of  Education Opening Convocation
                   Eugene P. and Lois Trani Center for Life Sciences Building
                  1000 W. Cary St.

11 a.m.       Mayor to attend the funeral of Virginia State Trooper Berke Bates
                  Saint Paul’s Baptist Church
                  4247 Creighton Rd.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mayor Stoney Announce Formation of the Monument Avenue Commission


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the formation of an ad hoc advisory group, the Monument Avenue Commission, to help the city redefine the false narrative of the Confederate statues that line Richmond’s grandest boulevard.

The commission will be tasked with soliciting public input and pooling its collective centuries of experience in history, art, government culture and community to make recommendations to the mayor’s office on how to best tell the real story of our monuments.

“It’s our time; it’s our responsibility to set the historical record straight on Monument Avenue’s confederate statuary,” Mayor Stoney said.

“Equal parts myth and deception, they were the ‘alternative facts’ of their time – a false narrative etched in stone and bronze more than 100 years ago – not only to lionize the architects and defenders of slavery – but to perpetuate the tyranny and terror of Jim Crow and reassert a new era of white supremacy. 

“It is my belief that without telling the whole story, these monuments have become a default endorsement of that shameful period – one that does a disservice to the principles of racial equality, tolerance and unity we celebrate as values in One Richmond today.”

Mayor Stoney has also charged the commission with exploring the possibility of adding new monuments to Monument Avenue.

“I think we should consider what Monument Avenue would look like with a little more diversity,” the Mayor said.

“Right now, Arthur Ashe stands alone -- and he is the only true champion on that street.”

To guide this process, the mayor has assembled a diverse and experienced team of experts – historians, artists, authors and community leaders.

The Mayor has appointed Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, and Gregg Kimball, Director of Education and Outreach for the Library of Virginia, to serve as Monument Avenue Commission co-chairs.

Click here for a list of other commission members and city staff assigned to assist the commission, which will also work with David Ruth, Superintendent of Central Virginia for the National Parks Service, who will advise regarding this National Landmark Historic District.

Two public meetings will be held over the next 90 days. Dates, times and locations will be announced next week. Residents will also be able to offer suggestions on the website, monumentavenuecommission.org.

When he ran for office, Mayor Stoney said the Confederate statues required context – that is, an explanation of what they actually are: who built them, why they were built and how they came to preside over the culture of this city. Today’s commission announcement is the first step in fulfilling that promise.

“The best way to change hearts is to educate minds,” he said.

The Mayor also suggested another strategy to balancing the historical ledger in Richmond.

“These are all important projects, and important symbols that help educate and build a bridge to understanding a more complete history,” the Mayor said.

“Let’s make our next monument a new school. A new community center. An alternative to public housing that restores dignity and pride of place,” he said.

“America’s history has been written and rewritten and our struggle with race in this country persists, not because monuments rise or fall, but because, fear makes people falter,” the Mayor continued.

“What lasts, however – the legacy that will endure – are the people we build, the minds we enlighten and nurture, and the hearts we open on both sides.

“If we can do that, then we will not just have a few new monuments. We will have thousands – living monuments to understanding, inclusiveness, equality and promise,” the Mayor added. “They are the ones who will know the difference between myth and fact, embrace just causes, not lost causes, and they will write the next chapter in the history of our city.

“Setting the record straight on Monument Avenue is one very important step on the road to One Richmond.”

Background:

Richmond is unique among cities in many respects in how it has handled its complex and conflicted Civil War and Civil Rights history.

It was the capital of the Confederacy and the home of the first African-American Governor in the United States – L. Douglas Wilder, in 1989.

A statue of segregationist state senator Harry Flood Byrd sits on Capitol square less than 100 years away from the Civil Rights memorial honoring Prince Edward County student Barbara Johns, whose brave protests for equal treatment in education helped bring about school desegregation in the commonwealth.

We have expanded the conversation and understanding of history and erected the statue, “Reconciliation,” acknowledging this city’s role in the Triangle Slave Trade in Shockoe Bottom.

A statue of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tadd stands next to the American Civil War Museum, the only museum dedicated to telling the story of the Civil War from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians.

Next month the city will dedicate a new statue of Richmond’s own Maggie Walker on Broad Street, and next year, an emancipation statue will be commemorated on Brown’s Island.

It is also moving forward developing a plan to commemorate the Devil’s Half Acre and Negro Burial Ground along Shockoe Creek.

History:

The statues on Monument Avenue were erected between 1890 and 1919, as the rights of African-Americans were being systematically removed.

In 1867, 105,832 African American men were registered to vote in Virginia, and between 1867 and 1895, nearly 100 black Virginians served in the two houses of the General Assembly or in the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868.

But in 1876, two constitutional amendments were ratified in Virginia that instituted a poll tax, disfranchising men convicted of petty offences, and the number of registered voters plunged.

By the turn of the century, as Jim Crow took hold, there were no more black legislators in Virginia until 1968.

Click here for the full remarks as prepared for the Mayor.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Draft Education Compact Resolution, Sets Joint Meeting


On behalf of the Education Compact working group, Mayor Stoney is pleased to release the current working draft of the Education Compact Resolution. This Resolution updates and revises the initial draft Education Compact documents released in February 2017.

The draft Resolution specifies the content and purpose of the Education Compact, with a focus on establishing a collaborative framework aimed at addressing the needs of schools, children and families. The attached document is in the form of a proposed School Board resolution; it is anticipated City Council will consider a parallel resolution. This document is a draft and is subject to change.

A special joint meeting of Richmond City Council and the School Board will be held on Monday, June 26 at 3 p.m. at the Library of Virginia for the purposes of discussing the draft resolution. No official action on the resolution will be taken at that meeting.

In addition to the draft Compact resolution, please also see the attached explanatory “Readers’ Guide” addressing common questions concerning the Compact.

Mayor Stoney and the Education Compact working group thank all residents who have taken time to attend one of the 12 Education Compact meetings and provide feedback on the initial Compact proposal.

Click here to view the Education Compact Draft School Board Resolution.

Click here to view the Reader's Guide to the Revised Education Compact Resolution and FAQs.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mayor Stoney Names Melvin D. Carter as Chief of Fire and Emergency Services


Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce that former Deputy Fire Chief Melvin D. Carter will serve as the City of Richmond’s 21st Chief of Fire and Emergency Services.

A native Richmonder, Carter joined the Richmond Department of Fire in 1987 and rose through the ranks, serving as a company lieutenant, captain, deputy fire marshal, and battalion chief. In 2009, he was appointed deputy fire chief.

He began his career as a volunteer firefighter for the Henrico County Division of Fire starting in 1983. In 1986, he worked as a professional firefighter with the City of Petersburg Fire Department.

Carter is a member of Virginia’s National Guard leads educational sessions for local Boy Scout troops in his spare time.

“Chief Carter’s work ethic, commitment to excellence and decades of experience in our City’s fire service make him the right choice for this important position,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am confident he will serve Richmond’s residents well.”

“It is a privilege and an honor to have this opportunity to lead Richmond’s bravest in my hometown,” said Chief Carter.

Chief Carter succeeds Interim Richmond Fire Chief David I. Daniels, who joined the department in 2015 as a deputy chief and served as the city’s top firefighter for the last four months.

“I am grateful to Chief Daniels and the City of Richmond thanks him for his steady leadership and service during this important transition period for the fire department,” said the Mayor.
 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mayor Stoney Names Bobby Vincent, Jr. as Director of Public Works


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced former Public Works Deputy Director of Operations, Bobby Vincent, Jr., will now serve as the Director of Public Works.

Vincent began his career at the Department of Public Utilities in 1992 as an engineer. For 14 years he served in that role, managing and planning the preventive maintenance and capital improvement projects concerning water and wastewater treatment plants, as well as the combined sewer system.

“It is an honor to be named Director of Public Works by Mayor Stoney,” said Mr. Vincent. “I am looking forward to taking on the key areas of improvement needed within DPW, as recently outlined in the VCU performance review of City Hall.”

Vincent has served in numerous leadership roles, including as Operations Manager of the Roadway Maintenance Division, Interim Director of General Services, and Chief of Construction and Inspections. Most recently, Vincent served the Department of Public Works as the Deputy Director of Operations. In this role, Vincent oversaw the Divisions of Solid Waste, Grounds Maintenance, Urban Forestry, Roadway Maintenance, Street Cleaning and CIP Paving.

In total, Vincent has served the Richmond Department of Public Works for 25 years. “We could not have a more qualified or experienced person fill this important position,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am very pleased Bobby accepted this appointment.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mayor Stoney Releases Education Compact Update



Richmond residents want a City in which RPS students are achieving at high levels, and in which fewer and fewer children live in poverty.  As part of his commitment to achieving that goal, Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to provide the following update on the Education Compact process:

Back in January, both the City Council and School Board unanimously adopted a resolution to work with Mayor Stoney to develop a more collaborative approach to public education, known as the Education Compact.

Draft Education Compact documents were released in February.

A total of 12 public meetings, in all nine Council districts, were held between March 27 and May 17. On the basis of public input received on the Compact documents, a final resolution is now being drafted for introduction to Richmond City Council and the School Board.

The final Education Compact resolution will recommend three key collaborative actions:

  • Regular, quarterly joint meetings of City Council and the School Board, along with City of Richmond and RPS administrations.
  • Creating a Richmond Children’s Cabinet of key administrative agencies within Richmond Public Schools and agencies in the City of Richmond impacting the lives of children.
  • Establishing an Education Compact Team, comprised of representatives from School Board, City Council, RPS administration, City of Richmond administration and community stakeholders. This team will examine and make non-binding recommendations on key issues, such as long-term funding of the operating and capital needs of schools.
“This collaborative work is essential to achieving improved academic outcomes as well as significantly reducing and offsetting the impact of child poverty,” said Dr. Thad Williamson, Mayor Stoney’s Senior Policy Advisor for Opportunity.

Williamson said that as the work of the Compact progresses, detailed proposals for addressing funding issues and for articulating specific shared goals (academic and non-academic) will be developed with the input of all stakeholders and the new Superintendent of Schools.

“When Richmond Public Schools succeed, the City of Richmond succeeds,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “For many children in Richmond, their RPS education is the best or even only opportunity they will have to develop their full potential and realize their dreams."

"That’s why we’re taking this important step as a community to positively impact both the quality of education in the classroom and the quality of children’s lives outside of the classroom. The unprecedented level of public input by students, parents, teachers and others invested in public education, as well as the collaboration between our School Board and Council over the last five months, has established a solid foundation for the next leader of our school system to make the transformative change RPS needs and our students deserve." 

“The Education Compact is the first step in coming together as a community and getting serious about making real change,” the Mayor said. “Our children can’t wait, and our community can’t wait, for us to get down to this important work.”


Thursday, May 25, 2017

City Performance Review Released by VCU's Wilder School



Mayor Levar M. Stoney this morning announced the release of a comprehensive performance review of City Hall.

Making good on his campaign promise, the Mayor commissioned the review shortly after taking office to provide him with an idea of what works and doesn’t work in the Richmond city government he inherited when he was sworn in Jan. 1, 2017.

The review, conducted over 100 days by the Performance Management Group (PMG) of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, examines the internal and external challenges facing City agencies, departments and their employees in the performance of their duties.  A copy of the review can be found here.

The review underscores the commitment of “many employees who are actively engaged in ways to make the city a superior place,” and “a workforce ready to step up and help the city move forward in a positive direction.” But it also paints a sobering picture of the state of city government in recent years -- a legacy of underperformance enabled by gaps in technology and training, poor communication, cumbersome processes, inconsistent policies, chronic understaffing and low morale.

“Excessive bureaucracy, micromanagement, unnecessary delays and sometimes poor leadership have led to a system that is often not as agile, responsive internally and externally, or as skillful as it should be for Richmond to become the City it could be,” the report states.

The findings support the results of public surveys conducted by the City Auditor of Richmond residents in 2008 and 2016, which revealed a stark decline in citizen satisfaction with City government, from 81% to 34%.

Specifically, the review revealed “a need for improved financial controls and reporting (Finance), better hiring processes and career development (Human Resources), streamlined procurement practices (Procurement) and upgraded and integrated technology (Information Technology).

“While all departments’ shortcoming must be improved upon, these four touch each department in major ways and are essential if all departments are to effectively deliver services and make city government as a whole healthy,” the review states.

“I am grateful to PMG’s Jim Burke and Linda Pierce and everyone involved in producing this important report,” said Mayor Stoney. “And I also want to thank the dedicated employees of our city government for their frank and honest assessments of how our government works, and in many cases, doesn’t work.

“We have some substantial challenges ahead of us to make City Hall deliver the government the citizens of Richmond deserve, and this report is an important first step in that journey,” the Mayor continued. “Moving forward, our goal with this report is not to re-litigate the past and point fingers. It’s about the fix. With the support of our employees, our City Council and our community, I am confident we will get there.”

Mayor Stoney will immediately implement the report’s recommendation to “create a cross-functional team” to prioritize the performance review report recommendations.

"The mission of the Wilder School is to serve the public interest through scholarship, teaching and direct public service. This includes service to state and local government, through which we provide expert assistance to policymakers and to public administrators," said John Accordino, Ph.D., dean of the Wilder School. "We are delighted to have had the opportunity, through this performance review, to assist the City of Richmond in its efforts to improve the quality of administration."

"It has been a pleasure working on this project to support improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of City Hall," said James M. Burke, Ph.D., director of the Wilder School's Performance Management Group, which led the review. "We know the mayor and his team will consider our recommendations as he prioritizes new initiatives alongside current ones. We are confident the improvements he and employees will bring to City Hall will be evident to the residents of Richmond in the coming years."

For more information on the performance review, please contact Brian McNeill, Public Relations Specialist University Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University (804) -827-0889, (804) 938-7558 (cell) or bwmcneill@vcu.edu.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s Statement on City of Richmond FY 2018 Budget


The following are the remarks as prepared for Mayor Levar M. Stoney regarding the City of Richmond FY 2018 Budget:

Thank you all for being here.

First, I want to thank everyone involved in organizing and supporting my budget this year.

I proposed the largest ever single year funding increase for education, and now $170 million will be allocated for Richmond Public Schools — providing needed cost of living increases for school personnel and long overdue increases in teacher salaries.

My budget increased funding for the Richmond Police and Fire Departments, and an additional $5.5 million is finally being invested in our public safety personnel.

My budget made needed improvements to core services, including our enhanced bulk and brush pickup and we reformed leaf collection.

And my budget invested an additional $500,000 for the Office of Community Wealth Building, to help move more people into the workforce and lift more families out of poverty. 

All four of my major budget priorities: public education, public safety, core services and community wealth building were all adopted and funded by City Council, and I would be remiss if I did not thank the members of City Council for recognizing these needs, and sharing in these priorities. This is a significant achievement for us all.

Somebody once told me that policy is budget and budget is policy. And on that account, I think we got it right this year and have laid the foundation for the city, for the “One Richmond” we all want to become.

But we still have a lot of work to do. And how we go about doing it is important.

There are big questions we need to answer.

Do we work together, or apart?

Do we fear that agreement makes us look weak, or fear that we will lose power if we fail to lead?

Do we have the ability to compromise even when we disagree?

Do we trust each other?

As you know I have expressed serious concerns over Council’s budget amendment, which would require Council approval, by ordinance, on many transfers of funds within departments of city government.

My concern has centered around the belief that adding this potentially weeks-long layer of bureaucracy, with the potential for 50 to 100 plus ordinances during the course of a year, would make City Hall operate even less efficiently than it does already, and leave us less responsive to the real-time needs of our residents.

I’m also concerned over the lack of transparency in how the amendment was introduced by Council without consultation with the administration – and that no other municipality in the commonwealth has chosen to follow this practice.

Let me say that I understand that in previous administrations there have been serious concerns expressed by Council over transparency and accountability of finances in City government. I appreciate Council’s concern and it is also a concern of mine. In fact, it is one of the reasons I ran for office.

But I want to make two things clear:

1.    This is not the last administration, and I do not believe it serves us to relitigate the mistakes of the past. We should be focused on the future.

2.    Going forward, our city is not served by this level of discord and distrust. It’s time for all of us to step up, and commit to working with each other, not against each other.

It is what I want.

It is what the people want.

And that is why, after careful consideration, I have decided that I will not veto Council’s amendment.

We need to move forward with the business of the people.

The Citizens of Richmond do not want to see us fight – that is the old way. They want us to govern. They want Council to legislate and they want me to lead.

They want the City to work.

So we need to do so in a way that is responsible, follows best practices and helps us be as efficient and responsive as possible.

That is why I hope Council will work in the coming weeks to modify, and perfect this most imperfect legislation. And that, in the future, we will work together to find the path to the efficient and transparent government our residents deserve.

To do so will require trust, transparency and a willingness to compromise.

That is my pledge today, by NOT issuing this veto. I hope Council will join me and help move our city forward.

Thank you. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mayor Stoney Marks Successful First 100 Days


Watch the “Mayor’s Minute – First 100 Days” here.
 

Today, April 10, 2017, marks Mayor Stoney’s 100th day in office after being sworn in and pledging to work every day to build One Richmond – a city that works for everyone.

The Mayor has hit the ground running, making good on his promise to be engaged in the community and initiate much needed reform focused on the core priorities of improving public education, promoting public safety, creating economic opportunity and fixing City Hall.

Mayor Stoney has visited fire stations, police precincts and a third of city schools already, in addition to more than 100 public appearances in his first months in office. He has also joined council members in district walk-throughs or held community meetings in nearly every district.

In just the first few months into his administration, the Mayor has won consensus with the School Board and City Council on an Education Compact to address the needs of the whole child, helped attract hundreds of new jobs to the city and introduced a GRTC transit plan that will reduce commutes and waiting times without increasing fares.

He launched an independent and comprehensive performance review of every city department to make City Hall work again, and introduced a balanced budget that makes record investments in city schools while also increasing funding for public safety and community wealth building.

“It’s been a great 100 days,” said Mayor Stoney. “I want to thank the community for all of its support. The best is yet to come.”

Below is a list of some of the administration’s accomplishments over the first 100 days.

###

HIGHLIGHTS OF FIRST 100 DAYS:

Fix City Hall / Departmental performance:
Initiated a 100-Day performance review by the Performance Management Group to find out what works and what needs improvement in City Hall. Took swift action to change leadership of several departments.

Education Compact:
Unanimous adoption by School Board and Council to work toward multi-agency, intergovernmental compact to address needs of the whole child.

Community Engagement:
More than 100 public appearances, including schools, police and fire stations, community walks and meetings in every district.

Public Safety:
Police Department is establishing a public housing unit. Trained more than 450 residents in use of force training. Three new fire engines were commissioned.

Public Works:
Prioritized residential streets in addition to primary roads during January snow storm and plowed 80% of streets within 24 hours. More than 4,500 potholes filled since January.

Welcoming City:
Issued Mayoral Directive reaffirming policies of inclusion. Among them: police will not inquire about immigration status and will not enter into 287(g) agreements with federal Immigrations Customs Enforcement. Joined Welcoming America and list of Welcoming Cities. Signed Mayor’s Against LGBT Discrimination national pledge.

Economic Development:
Nearly 700 new jobs brought to Richmond, including fortune 500 company Owens & Minor, Inc. to downtown Richmond, and the expansion of TemperPack in South Richmond.

Regional Leadership:
The Mayor accepted the role as co-chairman of the Capital Region Collaborative and has met multiple times with leaders in Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield.

GRTC-Transit:
Took important steps to remaking our Transit network to connect city workers to where jobs are located - and to get residents to their jobs faster - without any fare or tax increase.

Budget:
A balanced $681 million budget that does not raise taxes, including a record $6.1 million increased investment for schools, plus $1.3 million for police, $1 million for fire and $500,000 for community wealth building. One-time surplus money dedicated to finishing emergency communications system, repairing an estimated 1,300 alleys and getting a head start on grass cutting.

Finance and Administration:
The 2016 CAFR to be completed by the end of April. City is on schedule to complete the 2017 CAFR on time. Successful visit to New York bond rating agencies to preserve current rating, which produced a positive report from Fitch Ratings to affirm City is on track for AAA rating.

Richmond Animal Care & Control:
Achieved an 89% save rate in 2016 and since January has already taken in and cared for 698 animals with a 92% save rate in 2017.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mayor Stoney Kicks off the “LEVEL UP! Challenge” for Incoming 6th graders


Mayor Levar M. Stoney, Richmond Public Schools and the Richmond City Health District announce “Mayor Stoney’s LEVEL UP! Challenge,” a campaign aimed at helping 5th grade students “level up” to the 6th grade by getting their required Tdap vaccination.

Mayor Stoney is encouraging Richmond parents to participate in his Level Up! Challenge and return signed permission forms to allow their fifth grader to receive a free Tdap vaccination at their current school before the beginning of summer vacation. Forms will be sent home with students.

The goal of the challenge is to promote Tdap vaccination (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), which is required by state law for all children turning age 11 and entering the 6th grade. There is no grace period for students without vaccination documentation on the first day of school. Therefore, to help prevent absenteeism that occurs each year, Mayor Stoney, Richmond Public Schools and the Richmond City Health District have teamed up to proactively build awareness of this vaccination requirement and incentivize return of parental consent forms to allow their child to receive the free Tdap vaccination and be entered into the contest.

The Level Up! Challenge contest will be held at all 25 elementary schools between March 27 and April 7, with a chance for one student at each school to win a $50 gift card. There’s also a $100 gift card prize for school supplies that goes to the top four schools with the most parent permission forms returned before the contest end date of June 2.

There are 1,105 Richmond Public Schools students who will be age 11 by the time they reach 6th grade in the next school year (Fall 2017). The goal of this challenge is to have a minimum of 80% of the consent forms returned to schools.

More information can be obtained by calling RPS elementary schools, or by visiting the websites of Richmond Public Schools and the Richmond City Health District.

To see the Mayor's promotional message in English, click here.

To see the the message with Spanish translation, click here.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mayor Stoney Participates in Cities' Day of Immigration Action


Mayor Levar M. Stoney issued an official proclamation today adding his name to the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) initiative in support of new Americans. The March 21, 2017 Cities’ Day of Immigration Action was organized by the USCM and is being led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chair of the USCM Latino Alliance, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Chair of the USCM Mayors and Police Chiefs Task Force and other mayors calling on the federal government to enact comprehensive immigration reform and to enforce national immigration laws in a humane manner that does not disrupt the lives of cities’ residents.

Please find a PDF copy of Mayor Stoney’s proclamation here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney's Budget Proposal Speech for FY 2018.


Click here to read Mayor Levar M. Stoney's Budget Proposal Speech for FY 2018.

Click here to watch the video.

Monday, February 13, 2017

City Partnering with VCU’s Wilder School for Performance Review


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced VCU’s Wilder School will be assisting with the comprehensive performance review of all agencies in City Hall, which the mayor cited as his top priority among the initiatives of his first 100 days.

Mayor Stoney said, “The City is partnering with the results-inducing Performance Management Group (PMG) and Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to help us fulfill the promise I made during my campaign to bring accountability to our local government.”

Dr. James M. Burke, the director of PMG who specializes in organizational development and improving effectiveness in the workplace, will now lead the performance review with PMG and CURA. The review will continue in three phases, which include a review of previous audit reports, extensive interviews with City personnel and delivery of important recommendations that will be implemented to achieve the mayor’s objective of building a City Hall that works, and works together. “We are excited by the commitment of the City’s leadership to improving City operations and services to the public; and we are delighted to be engaged in this process,” said Dr. Burke.

Both PMG and CURA are part of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU, and each have a wide range of consultation successes in assisting governmental organizations in transforming workflows and work cultures, implementing best practices and bringing about a renewed dedication and commitment among public employees to customer and public service.

The Stoney administration and VCU have also secured additional assistance with this review from numerous Richmond stakeholders, including Dr. John Accordino and Greg Wingfield from VCU's Wilder School; Robert Dortch from Robins Foundation; Dr. Bill Murray from Dominion; former Dominion Director of Corporate Philanthropy and Community Partnerships, Iris Holliday; Jim Kresge and George Ruzek from Capital One; Andrea Archer, Teri Miles, Charlie Agee and Michael Walton from Altria; Casey Lucier from McGuireWoods; former Brink’s CFO, Joe Dziedzic; local business woman Teresa Caviness; and Brian Jackson from Hirschler Fleischer and Chair of Venture Richmond, among others.

Altria Group and Dominion Resources are also contributing financially, by providing $50,000 each to match the City’s cost to fund this initiative. “We can’t do it all alone,” added the mayor, “I am grateful for the support we’re receiving to help get this completed.”

Friday, February 10, 2017

Mayor Stoney Announces Interim Human Resources Director


Korita Jones, Interim Director, Department of Human Resources:  Korita Jones will serve as Interim Director, Department of Human Resources.

A Petersburg native and 2005 graduate of Virginia State University, Jones most recently served as HR Division Chief of the Compensation and Benefits Division of Human Resources.  Jones joined the City in 2009 as a HR Consultant and has been promoted to various City positions to include Policy Analyst and HR Liaison for City Council Offices. 



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mayor Stoney Announces Administration Appointments


Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce the following appointments:
 
Bobby Vincent Jr., Interim Director, Department of Public Works:  Bobby Vincent Jr. assumes the role of DPW Interim Director with nearly 25 years of experience working for the City of Richmond. Vincent, a graduate of Virginia State University who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, began his public service career with the city in 1992 as an engineer, and most recently served as DPW’s Deputy Director.

Debbie Patricia Jackson, Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Human Services:  Debbie Jackson will serve as Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Human Services. Jackson, a graduate of Dartmouth College who holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, brings more than 20 years of training management experience to the job. Jackson has served as the Training Manager in the City of Richmond since 2009. Prior to joining the city, Jackson worked as Training Manager for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and held various supervisory positions in training for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

David Daniels, Interim Fire Chief:  David Daniels will serve as Interim Fire Chief. Daniels assumes the role after serving as Chief Safety Officer and Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Richmond since 2015. Prior to joining the City of Richmond, Daniels, served as Executive Director of Workforce Safety in the City of Atlanta, part of a 35-year career in fire safety and emergency services. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Services from Easter Oregon University and a Master of Human Resources Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management in Atlanta.

In addition to the appointments, the mayor announced management of the Department of Human Resources will transition from the Human Services portfolio to being under the direction of the Finance and Administration portfolio overseen by Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Lenora Reid.
 
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of these dedicated professionals to their roles as interim directors for their respective departments,” Mayor Stoney said. “The City of Richmond is moving in a new direction. I am thankful to have these experienced professionals as part of our management team and excited to see what they can do to improve our government and move our city forward.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mayor Stoney visits Richmond Animal Care & Control


Mayor Stoney visits Richmond Animal Care & Control shelter to congratulate staff on 89% save rate and 1,800 animals adopted in 2016!



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Announces Administration Appointments


Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce the following appointments:

Jon Baliles, Senior Policy Advisor for Innovation

In his role, Jon will help the Mayor improve the efficiency and accountability of government operations, increase the city’s economic vitality and growth, and help chart a course for planning the future of our neighborhoods and commercial areas.

Over the course of the last decade, Jon has had the unique experience of serving in all three branches of city government and across multiple departments. He was hired by Mayor Wilder in February 2008 and later served as the Assistant to the Director of Planning and Development Review from January 2009 - July 2012. He resigned his position to successfully run for City Council and served in that capacity from 2013 - 2016.

“Jon brings with him a deep knowledge of City Hall and Richmond and will be an invaluable asset in helping us transform the expectations of city government,” said Mayor Stoney.

In addition to his city service, Jon is also co-founder of the RVA Street Art Festival with local artist Ed Trask and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree from George Mason University.


Lisa Speller-Davis, Senior Policy Advisor for Engagement

Lisa will work to build and sustain meaningful relationships with community groups, and the public, to ensure thorough input into decisions that shape our community, in areas such as education, community wealth building, human services, transportation and strengthening regional ties.

“Lisa will play a pivotal role in ensuring that our city becomes One Richmond – a city that works for all, regardless of zip code,” said Mayor Stoney. “Lisa will ensure all relevant stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the development of plans and policies that shape our future.”

Lisa is a Registered Nurse, with a diverse background in community–based care, patient care services and in marketing and health education with the managed health care industry in Richmond. As a part of her passion for civic engagement, Lisa started a not-for-profit organization, Community Empowerment Alliance, with a mission to help those most in need by providing access to community resources around the eradication of poverty and the importance of civic engagement through community education.

Lisa attended both Virginia State University and J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College to complete her education as a Registered Nurse. Lisa is also a graduate of the 2016 Class of Emerge Virginia and serves on the boards of NARAL Virginia and Virginia Nurses’ Association.


Dr. Thad Williamson, Senior Policy Advisor for Opportunity

Dr. Williamson is an Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, where he has taught since 2005. His academic work and teaching focuses on social justice, urban politics, and leadership.

Dr. Williamson was lead author of the 2013 Mayor's Anti-Poverty Commission Report and from 2014 - 2016 he served the City of Richmond as the first director of the Office of Community Wealth Building. He also served as Transition Director for Mayor Stoney.

“Thad’s experience and expertise will be critical to our efforts to provide better education and opportunity for our children, and to help lift Richmond out of poverty,” said Mayor Stoney.

He is author, co-author or co-editor of six books, including Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life, and numerous book chapters and articles for academic and popular publications. Dr. Williamson holds a bachelor's degree in history and religious studies from Brown University, a master's degree in religion from Union Theological Seminary (New York), and a doctorate in political science from Harvard University. He and his wife, Dr. Adria Scharf, are parents of a fourth grader in Richmond Public Schools.


Rushawna Senior, Senior Assistant to the Mayor

Prior to her appointment, Rushawna served as a Policy Analyst and Legislative Coordinator to Governor Terence R. McAuliffe focusing on Public Safety and Homeland Security as well as Defense and Veteran Affairs issues. She has also served as an Assistant Program Coordinator for the Department of Motor Vehicles while being a drilling reservist in the Army National Guard as a Human Resources Specialist.

“Rushawna’s organizational skills and experience are essential to our ability to have a high-functioning and responsive Mayor’s Office,” said Stoney.

Rushawna graduated from Old Dominion University with her Bachelors of Science in Communication, and is receiving her Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Tech.


Friday, January 13, 2017

To Improve Schools, Let’s Work Together


The success of Richmond Public Schools, its students, and its families is critically important to the City of Richmond and will be a top priority in my mayoral administration. Voters in 2016 made it very clear that they want their leaders to prioritize education, and that they want to see public officials collaborate to support schools. 

Richmond Public Schools face many challenges, none more so than the impact of poverty on both our neighborhoods and our children’s ability to learn. We therefore must take a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of children and their families, inside and outside of the classroom, in order to succeed in our effort to improve educational outcomes and reduce poverty in the City of Richmond. 


This goal — to improve educational outcomes and reduce poverty — is challenging on its own, but it is even more challenging in a climate of scarce resources. About two in five children in the City live in poverty, and nearly four in five RPS students are classified as low-income. Helping these children reach their innate potential often requires extra support and attention. Yet resources in the City are limited: state funding has been flat in recent years, the statewide funding formula disadvantages Richmond, and the City itself has other critical needs such as infrastructure and public safety. 


Success thus demands that the Mayor, City Council, and School Board work together to establish not only clear goals and associated measures of accountability, but also a shared understanding of what resources are necessary to accomplish those goals. As we’ve learned over the past few years, without a commitment to work together towards common goals using a common plan, we have no hope of making durable progress or meeting all our funding needs. 


I am confident that we have an historic opportunity to permanently transform the City of Richmond if we are willing to work together, make difficult compromises when necessary, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to fight for the future of our City’s children. As Mayor, I aim to support Richmond Public Schools so that we have a school system that provides a top-tier education to all of our children, especially those who face extra challenges due to poverty. 


Past Mayors have criticized the shortcomings of Richmond Public Schools and tried various approaches to influence the actions of schools. As Mayor, I am trying something different. Rather than pit the needs of schools against the needs of other agencies in city government, I will lead the City to work collaboratively with RPS in a way that addresses the whole child. 


That means that we must pay attention to critical needs within RPS, like recruiting and compensating great leaders for our schools and classrooms. It also means that we must pay attention to strong support services, to after-school and summertime programs, and to what is going on at home.
It means that we must not only engage parents and families, but also ways for parents and families to further their own education and bolster their own careers. It means that we have to invest in public safety, and it means that all those who interact with children in Richmond understand the history of our community and the impact of trauma on many kids. 


It means we have to cultivate hope, high expectations, and high self-worth, for all our kids and all our families.


I call my approach the “Education Compact.” At its most basic level, the Education Compact is an agreement among the Mayor, City Council and the School Board to work together on a shared vision to improve outcomes for Richmond’s children and families. The substance of the Compact will include articulated goals, metrics for success, and measures of accountability. It will also include commitments to regularly communicate, to build and sustain trust, and to seek opportunities for cooperation. And it will include the development of a framework to ensure that we meet the long-term financial needs of schools and families.


I do not expect the Compact, by itself, to solve all problems or to prevent all disagreement. Rather, I expect the Compact to set the terms of a healthy civic discussion, based on this simple premise: all elected officials in Richmond have an interest in seeing schools succeed, and children and families thrive.


I applaud the statement adopted last week by the Richmond School Board in support of developing an Education Compact, as well as the supportive remarks made by City Council President Chris Hilbert and Vice-President Cynthia Newbille. I look forward to working closely with both bodies both in the next two months and over the longer term to develop and institutionalize the Education Compact.
I am committed as Mayor, and hereby commit my administration, to developing a healthy collaborative relationship with both the School Board and City Council. This is what our citizens expect and what our children need, and it’s the only way to attain sustainable success. 


Let’s make it happen!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Mayor Levar M. Stoney


Levar M. Stoney was sworn in as Richmond's 80th mayor Saturday, Dec. 31 in a ceremony at City Hall in City Council chambers.
 
Mayor Stoney, Richmond's youngest ever mayor at age 35, was sworn in by Judge David M. Hicks in a brief ceremony that was officiated by the Rev. Tyrone Nelson and attended by members of his extended family and close friends, as well as members of City Council and Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his wife, Dorothy.

In personal remarks following his swearing-in, the Mayor paid tribute to his late father and grandmother and thanked all the extended family members, teachers, coaches and mentors who have inspired him growing up and during his career in public service.

"These are people I consider my family," the Mayor said. "And I think moving forward today, the city of Richmond is my family."

"There is no secret formula to this, no secret recipe, but to work hard to every single day and pour my time, my energy, my life into everything I do," the Mayor continued.

"That's the way that my father wanted it, my grandmother wanted it, and that's the only way I know how to do it.

"I am humbled by this opportunity to lead our city and grateful for many, many children who look like me, who have similar circumstances I have, who may never get this opportunity," the Mayor said.

"I think it's our job to ensure that they all have an opportunity to rise to that occasion. I know, God willing, you all will help me ensure that they get that opportunity. Thank you all so much.

"Let's make it happen."