Staunton City Council welcomed a new city attorney who hails from Charlottesville, but first, councilors addressed the future of their meetings, as they continue to struggle with communication, despite some expressing a desire to work together.
Staunton Council will continue to have meetings with members both in-person and through Zoom, but Council is unable to agree when it comes to having a retreat.
“The district remains with widespread community transmission as does the state and really the nation as a whole,” said Central Shenandoah Health District Director Dr. Laura Kornegay.
After Kornegay’s recommendation and debating the length, Council voted 5-2 to allow the use of Zoom for meetings through April 9. But, council members still can’t agree on when and how to have a retreat.
“It just seems that this is an important issue,” said councilwoman Brenda Mead. “There are barriers to our communications and I think a retreat is an important way to reduce those barriers.”
Vice Mayor Mark Robertson says he’s looking forward to a retreat but says it needs to be in person. ” I feel quite strongly all of us need to be in the same room so that we can talk and look at each other in the eye.”
Councilman Terry Holmes says he doesn’t have a problem with it being a mixed meeting understanding why somebody wouldn’t want to attend in-person with COVID.
“We keep putting this off and we’re not getting along that great and like you said it’d be better to have something where we can all try to hash out some of our problems now instead of keep kicking it down the road,” stated Holmes.
The discussion about the retreat was tabled.
City Council did formally appoint John Blair as the new City Attorney following Doug Guynn stepping down from that role after 16 years. Blair was the City Attorney of Charlottesville since 2018 and has most recently served as interim city manager.
“I will do my best for all seven of you as well as the staff to protect your legal interests and the city’s legal interests at the same time,” said Blair.