The Charlotte City Council has agreed to hire Norfolk, Va., City Manager Marcus D. Jones as its new manager, and will vote on a contract Wednesday afternoon.
Jones will be the city’s first African-American manager. His hiring comes at a crucial time for Charlotte, which saw days of civil unrest after the Sept. 20 police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
The City Council and Mayor Jennifer Roberts have voted to have an outside consultant, The Police Foundation, review Charlotte-Mecklenburg police procedures. They also have pledged to build more affordable housing and to create a $1 million jobs program.
Jones will have to implement that response.
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Jones, a Virginia native, grew up in Caroline County, north of Richmond. He is the son of a Baptist minister and has three children, according to a recent profile in the Hampton Roads Business Journal.
He was the budget director in Norfolk from 2004 to 2007 and then the city’s assistant city manager. He went to Richmond city government before returning to Norfolk in 2011, when he was hired as manager.
In a 2014 interview with the Hampton Roads Business Journal, Jones said his goal was an “efficient … data-driven organization.”
“We have this priority in the city, which is a well-managed government,” he said. “We’re a data-driven organization that’s efficient, effective, accountable, inclusive, responsive and customer-focused. From time to time, I have my senior leadership team recite that and if they can’t recite that they have to do 50 push-ups. Well, the 50 push-ups part isn’t true, but I recite that because we believe it’s part of the fabric of this organization.”
Norfolk’s population is about 250,000. It’s the second largest city in the Hampton Roads metro area, which has about 1.7 million people.
Charlotte’s population is about 810,000.
Jones is flying to Charlotte Wednesday afternoon for a 5:30 p.m. meeting.
His compensation has not yet been made public.
After several months of searching and interviews, council members met in closed session Monday and agreed to terms with Jones.
Council members have been secretive about the search, especially compared to 2013, when they last hired a manager. They all signed confidentiality agreements that were written by the city attorney’s office.
In 2013, the city announced that there were three finalists and allowed the public to meet them. They ultimately hired Ron Carlee, who didn’t seek a contract extension this year.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has also historically allowed the public to meet the finalists when hiring a superintendent.
The new manager will replace interim City Manager Ron Kimble, who has held the job since July, when Carlee left the city. Kimble plans to retire later this year.
Jones comes to Charlotte in the wake of the Scott shooting, but council members said his selection wasn’t in response to the civil unrest.
Council members interviewed six finalists for the job at the Omni hotel uptown on Sept. 20 – hours before Scott was shot by police. That same day, before the shooting, they narrowed the list of six to two people: Jones and an internal candidate, Kim Eagle, the city’s director of strategy and budget.
One night later, on Sept. 21, protests in uptown turned violent when a protester was shot and killed in front of the same hotel.
When council members met again weeks later to make a final decision, the initial vote was 10-2 in favor of Jones.
Democrats Gregg Phipps and Patsy Kinsey supported Eagle.
Wednesday’s public vote is expected to be unanimous.