Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mayor Stoney Appoints Reggie Gordon Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) for Human Services


Mayor Levar M. Stoney announced today the appointment of Reginald E. Gordon to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services. Mr. Gordon has served in the interim capacity since August, 2018, and simultaneously as the Director of the Office of Community Wealth Building. He will permanently assume the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) on Monday, November 26, 2018.

The DCAO of Human Services is responsible for the proper administration of government with a portfolio including direct oversight over the Departments of Social Services, Justice Services and Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. DCAO Gordon will also serve as the liaison to the quasi-independent and state agencies including the Richmond City Health District, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and the Richmond Public Library.

“Reggie’s extensive background in human services and numerous successes in community wealth building and related initiatives serving our citizens makes him the clear choice to serve as Richmond’s DCAO for Human Services,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am excited to work even more closely with him now in the ongoing pursuit to build ‘One Richmond.’”

Mr. Gordon’s portfolio also includes two of the city’s most critical programs, the Office of Aging and Persons with Disabilities and Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“I am honored to be entrusted with these new and vital responsibilities,” said Mr. Gordon. “The mayor and chief administrative officer (CAO) have impressed upon me now is not the time for business as usual in the City of Richmond, and I am ready to advance the initiatives designed to create positive and transformative outcomes for children, single adults and families in our city. We will find new and creative ways to achieve equitable and life affirming outcomes for all our citizens, and I thank the mayor and CAO for this opportunity.”



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham to Retire


Retirement at year’s end caps 31 years of distinguished service in law enforcement, four years as Chief of RPD
    

After more than 31 years of distinguished public service in law enforcement, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham today announced his intention to retire from his job as Chief of Police, effective December 31, 2018.

The chief’s retirement will conclude nearly four years of service to the City of Richmond as police chief, and caps a law enforcement career that began in 1987 with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, following four years of active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Public service is, and has been, my life,” said Chief Durham, 55. “It has been my highest privilege to serve the men and women of this department and the citizens of this great city. I would like to thank Mayor Stoney for believing in me and for his unwavering support in allowing me the opportunity to strengthen the department and its bonds to the community. It has been both an incredibly challenging and rewarding career for me.”
Chief Durham said he is retiring at a time when the department has received national recognition as a law enforcement agency and has “a great team of employees who are doing remarkable work each and every day.

“Knowing that the department is in a better place than when I assumed command in 2015, I feel that now is the ideal time for me to focus on my personal life and to begin spending quality time with my family,” he said.

Mayor Levar M. Stoney, who retained Chief Durham as Chief of Police after taking office in January 2017, thanked him for his years of service to the Richmond community. “Chief Durham deserves our deepest respect and sincere appreciation for his tireless commitment to our city,” he said.

“He has always been a 24-7 chief,” Mayor Stoney continued. “Whether at a community meeting or crime scene, a street festival or a street protest, day or night, the residents of this city could always count on him to be there. Chief Durham gave blood, sweat and tears to this department, and Richmond is a better place because of his service. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”

During Chief Durham’s tenure, the Richmond Police Department expanded its complement of sworn officers to its prescribed strength, a move that enabled the department to assign dedicated officers to the city’s public housing courts, improving safety and security in those areas. The department also modernized its equipment and deployed technology such as body worn cameras, security cameras and laptop computers to police personnel. The department has also been recognized, and consulted by other law enforcement agencies, for its handling of public demonstrations.
Most recently, the work of the department’s homicide unit was recognized in an article in the Washington Post for the having the highest homicide case closure rate in the nation over the last 10 years. (Click Here)

As of Nov. 13, the city is experiencing a 21 percent decrease in homicides and a nine percent reduction in violent crime.

Chief Durham will serve in his full capacity as chief through the end of the year. The city will conduct a national search for a new chief. In the coming weeks, Mayor Stoney will appoint an interim chief who will assume command of the department following Chief Durham’s departure until a permanent replacement has been selected.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Mayor Announces Agreement in Principle on North of Broad Development


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced that the City of Richmond has reached an agreement, in principle, with the nonprofit NH District Corporation for the development of the Navy Hill neighborhood north of Broad Street. Pending final negotiation and satisfactory resolution of several outstanding details, the administration will submit ordinances to the Richmond City Council in the coming weeks for consideration and public deliberation.

The independent, third-party analysis of the proposed North of Broad project by Hunden Strategic Partners, Inc. can be found here -

Below are Mayor Stoney’s remarks from earlier today:

North of Broad Project Announcement
Remarks (As Prepared for Delivery) by Mayor Levar M. Stoney
November 1, 2018

Good afternoon.
Thank you for coming.
Almost one year ago, I stood on the Observation Deck of City Hall to announce our plans to seek proposals to redevelop a forgotten neighborhood, and to revitalize underutilized city assets in the middle of our downtown, just north of Broad Street. The bold goals for this proposal were nothing less than to significantly improve the quality of life for all of Richmond’s residents.
This is why I insisted, from the very beginning, that any proposal include the creation of jobs and the hiring of local minority businesses.
That is why I insisted that any development include a significant number of affordable housing units.
That is why I insisted on a permanent replacement for the temporary GRTC transfer station, so that our hard-working residents can have a measure of comfort and dignity on their daily commutes to and from work.
We required that any plan include the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the Blues Armory.
And we imposed one additional, very important condition on the RFP:
That we would not endorse any proposal that would require the city to use its existing tax revenue or debt capacity to fund the project.
And we would not support issuing any bonds that would require the City’s moral or general obligation to fund any component of the proposal. Meaning, we would not put the city’s solid financial footing at risk, or compromise its ability to finance its priorities of the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, today, I am pleased to announce that after eight months of hard work and very tough negotiation, I believe we have achieved agreement in principle on all of those goals.
And Richmond is one very large step closer to transforming not only its downtown, but the future of neighborhoods, schools and services throughout our city.
I will get into some of the specifics in a moment, but I called you here today to let you know that if we are able to successfully resolve several outstanding details in the coming weeks, my administration will be submitting ordinances to City Council representing an agreement with the nonprofit NH District Corporation to redevelop the Navy Hill neighborhood north of Broad Street.
If approved by the Council, this will easily be the largest economic development project in the history of our city. 
But more importantly it will be the largest economic empowerment project in our city’s history – one that is driven by our values -- and puts Richmonders first.
In the spirit of One Richmond – that is, creating a city that works for, and benefits, ALL of us…
With this project:
  • We will create 21,000 jobs -- including more than 9,000 permanent jobs and workforce training opportunities. Less than a mile away in Gilpin Court, 75 percent of our residents live in poverty. This project will offer economic opportunity to thousands of men and women who just need a helping hand.

  • This project will include more than $300 million in contracts for minority businesses – this will ensure that our talented minority contractors are in the game and NOT sitting on the sidelines.

  • We will build nearly 680 units of affordable housing – a substantial down payment on our goal of building 1,500 affordable units by 2023. We want those who work in this neighborhood to be able to live in it as well.

  • We will build a new GRTC transit center here in the heart of downtown, so that residents across our city can have a facility that offers shelter and dignity to our hardworking men and women who rely on public transit.

  • We will preserve and restore the historic Blues Armory - bringing it back to life as a centerpiece of this newly revitalized neighborhood.

  • And we will reconnect our street grid and raise Leigh Street so that we can create a true walkable and vibrant neighborhood that links to a resurgent Jackson Ward.

Employers and those in Richmond’s tourism industry have long said that we need an additional convention center hotel that could expand the city’s lodging capacity and allow it to compete with other cities for conventions and events, estimating that we have lost more than 31,000 lodging nights over the last five years to other cities with more capacity.
So this project will include an upscale 500-room hotel, with event space, retail and commercial opportunities.
They also said we needed a replacement for the decrepit, 46-year-old Richmond Coliseum, which is costing us more than $1.5 million every year to keep open and whose maintenance needs threaten to eat into our limited debt capacity.
So this project includes a state-of-the-art arena that will be the largest in Virginia – an asset that will allow us to compete not just with Charlottesville and Norfolk, but with the Charlottes and Nashvilles for major events and the revenues they bring.
I know Richmond is every bit the equal of these places.
*
For years now, achieving these goals – jobs, housing, neighborhood revitalization and economic empowerment – has been elusive.
We all know the problem – our city has many pressing needs, and we do not have the resources to meet these needs.
We know the state has shortchanged Richmond Public Schools in education funding.
And that same state government, which we are home to as a capital city, has many lovely buildings that occupy a substantial portion of our downtown – and don’t pay taxes.
We can – and we are – demanding more.
But until that happens, we can’t burden our homeowners and residents with more taxes and higher costs.
And we can’t cut our way to funding our schools, fixing our streets and delivering the level of services our residents and families deserve.
I was elected Mayor on the belief of what Richmond can do, of what it can become.
And today is about what Richmond can do.
With this project, we will leverage private investment and underutilized city assets in our downtown, to maximize growth that will benefit everyone in our city. This project represents a $1.4 billion investment that does not raise taxes and does not incur financial risk to the city.
It will generate an additional $1 billion in additional tax revenue over the next 30 years.
And we will use that additional revenue to finance the needs of our neighborhoods – for better schools, for better streets and for better core services.
Simply put, this is a game changer.
*
This is not a project into which we enter lightly. And frankly, the final agreement that we hope to present to Council in the coming weeks is very different from the proposal that was submitted to us in January.
As you know, my CAO Selena Cuffee-Glenn, our city attorney’s office and top city staff from multiple departments worked with our financial advisors, Davenport and Company, to review and negotiate the proposal.
And as you also know, I said publicly, (and we said privately in negotiations), that the proposal as initially presented to us on issues such as affordable housing and minority business contracting did not go far enough. We were not going to move forward without substantial changes in these and other aspects of the proposal.
As it stands, the $300 million worth of opportunity to our minority businesses in the agreement represents more economic opportunity than we have been able to create in the last ten years combined as a city for our minority businesses.
The 680 affordable housing units will also represent one of the greatest expansions of affordable housing in our history.
To ensure we were doing everything correctly, to make sure the numbers that we came up with were indeed, numbers that would work for the city, we added another layer of due diligence.
We directed Davenport & Company, our financial advisors, to hire an outside third party to review the projections and details of the proposal, including the Tax Increment Finance district that we propose to use to finance the city owned assets that are part of the project.
The independent analysis by Hunden Strategic Partners, which we will provide to you tomorrow, not only confirmed our own analysis, but forecasts greater revenue projections.
In fact, based on the analysis of our third party, we believe that this project could provide our city with over $1.7 billion of revenue over 30 years.
This far exceeds the revenue that would be generated if we did nothing.
Ladies and Gentleman, there is a cost for doing nothing.
And just to be clear, tax revenue from the proposed TIF will ONLY go toward paying the debt on the Blues Armory, the Arena, and bringing Leigh Street up to grade. The developers and bond holders will shoulder 100 % of the risk for this project. 
*
I believe that every Richmonder, every neighborhood, should share in our prosperity. Not just old Richmond, but new Richmond, in all its diversity and emerging talent. 
For me this is not about a new coliseum. This is about what this project allows us to do. If we do nothing we do not create over 20,000 jobs. If we do nothing we will not build nearly 700 new affordable homes. If we do nothing we will not generate a billion dollars in revenue that can be used to make critical investments in our neighborhoods – our schools, our streets and our services.    
We must grow the pie so that everyone gets a piece. Either we take the steps and the unique opportunity we have now with this project to make a transformative difference in the lives of our residents, or we do nothing -- and keep waiting and hoping for all this to happen, without the additional investment needed to make it happen.
*
I am so proud of the work of many people throughout the city who have helped us reach this point today – it is truly a partnership between the public, non-profit and private sectors working together.
And while the work is not yet done, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the determination, focus and diligence of my team, led by Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee Glenn and her directors, City Attorney Allen Jackson and his team, Matt Welch from economic development and David Rose, Roland Kooch and Jimmy Sanderson from Davenport.
This project simply would not be possible without the dedication and engagement of our business community. I’d like to recognize, and thank Tom Farrell, CT Hill and the board of NH for forming this nonprofit entity to submit this proposal, and acknowledge Union Bank CEO John Asbury for his institution’s substantial commitment to this transformational project.
These leaders have not only have invested in Richmond, but they also share a love for this city. They understand its many needs. And they believe, like we all do, in Richmond’s potential for greatness, and for that, I thank you. 
We also would not have reached today without the support of one of our leading non-profit organizations in the city, The Community Foundation. 
The Community Foundation recognized the transformative nature of this project and has committed $5 million dollars to the affordable housing component of the work.
Thank you, Sherrie Brach Armstrong, for the amazing way The Community Foundation is partnering with us on this.
I’d also like to recognize and thank Greta Harris with the Better Housing Coalition for being here today and for your commitment and partnership in the affordable housing component of this project.
*
Ladies and gentlemen, this is an important day for our city. It is an opportunity.
The cynics out there will point to all the things we can’t do. They will point to projects in the past that were either ill-conceived, or poorly timed or poorly executed, that never lived up to their potential, and some of that is true.
But this is the wrong way to think about our future. This is an old Richmond way of thinking --that Richmond shouldn’t try to do great things today; that she can’t do great things tomorrow.
Well, we can, and we will.
This city has grown. I am standing here before you as proof that the Richmond of yesterday is not the Richmond of today, or more importantly of tomorrow.
We are changing. We are making progress. And now is not the time not to let our past fears define our future opportunities.
I encourage City Council to take the time it needs to review this agreement once it is submitted, and I encourage the public to ask questions of the developer and of my administration. Everyone will have the chance to kick the tires, as we have. I am excited about embarking on this process, and what we can accomplish for our city together.
This is a game changer.
This is our time. This is our chance to pass on prosperity to everyone in our city, and to secure a better future for our children.
Let’s make it happen.
Thank you.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Mayor Stoney Launches Richmond Census 2020 Complete Count Committee



Click here to view the announcement video.

Today, Mayor Levar M. Stoney launched Richmond’s Census 2020 Complete Count Committee. The Committee has been established to ensure that no citizen in the City of Richmond goes uncounted.

“For each person uncounted, the city and organizations miss out on $2,000 worth of funding each year until the next census,” said Mayor Stoney. “That’s $20,000 for each uncounted person over a ten-year span. Our team will use its networks and expertise to make sure we reach every square foot of Richmond.”

The Mayor also stressed the values of being counted and encouraged every Richmonder to participate. The Complete Count Committee will keep residents informed and ensure the most robust representation of our city in the 2020 Census.

Members of the Complete Count Committee can be found here.

For more information please contact Chelsi Bennett, J.D., Chair, Complete Count Committee at Chelsi.Bennett@Richmondgov.com or (804) 646-7978. You can also visit: RVACounts2020.com and follow us on social media @RVACounts2020.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mayor Stoney Announces the City of Richmond has the Highest Municipal Equality Index Score in Virginia


Mayor Stoney is proud to announce that the City of Richmond received the highest Municipal Equality Index scorecard in the Commonwealth of Virginia as determined by the Human Rights Campaign. Out of the 11 municipalities scored in Virginia, Richmond received a 94. Out of the 506 municipalities scored in 2018, the City of Richmond experienced the most significant score increase nationwide.
Richmond was named a “MEI All-Star” and spotlighted as a “city boldly leading the way to equality” in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 MEI report. 
“I am thrilled that Richmond has taken so many positive steps to protect and support our LGBTQ community,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have always said that no matter the color of your skin, the neighborhood you live in, or who you love, that you are welcome in the City of Richmond – and Richmond’s 2018 MEI scorecard echoes that message.”
Each year the Human Rights Campaign rates cities across the United States based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities. This process is called their Municipal Equality Index (MEI) scorecard where cities are scored from 0-100 on items such as non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, inclusive workplaces, and LGBTQ liaisons in the city’s executive office, to name a few. 
In 2017, Richmond received a 42 on the MEI scorecard. By working with City Council to establish a Human Rights Commission and non-discrimination laws, designating a policy advisor to serve as the Mayor’s LGBTQ liaison, and offering transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, Richmond was able to increase its score by 52 points since 2017.
Richmond’s score increase is celebrated by state groups such as Equality Virginia, a non-profit that advocates for equality for LGBTQ Virginians, and Virginia Pride, an organization that provides support and resources for the LGBTQ community.
“The work for full lived equality begins in our local communities,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “Equality Virginia applauds the efforts of Mayor Stoney and the Richmond City Council towards creating a city where gay and transgender people can live, work, and play free from discrimination. To see Richmond’s MEI score double in one year shows just how seriously Mayor Stoney values creating an inclusive city.” 
“The work that Mayor Stoney’s Administration has done to make Richmond a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ community members to live, work, and visit is incredible,” said James Millner, President of Virginia Pride. “Mayor Stoney campaigned on making Richmond a more inclusive city that celebrates its diversity and he has kept his promise.” 
“I am delighted that Richmond is able to progress at this level,” said Mayor Stoney. “However, we would not have been able to make it this far without the help of officials, such as Councilmembers Parker Agelasto and Ellen Robertson, who were key in moving Richmond’s Human Rights Commission and non-discrimination laws forward in the city council.”
Fortune 500 companies look to the Human Rights Campaign report as a guide to where they may relocate as they need cities that reflects their values.
Local organizations have also demonstrated support of Richmond’s efforts to protect the LGBTQ community.
“Richmond is leading the way on a national level,” said Bill Harrison, Executive Director of Diversity Richmond, an organization dedicated to being a voice and resource for LGBTQ Richmonders. “Mayor Stoney is building bridges to make Richmond a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous city.”
“We are grateful for Mayor Stoney’s leadership to make Richmond a more inclusive place,” said Katherine O’Donnell, Richmond Region Tourism Executive Vice President. “Celebrating diversity and equality is important for Richmonders, as well as visitors. With tourism in our region continuing to grow, the Human Rights Campaign’s latest index score is a reminder to LGBTQ+ travelers that Richmond is welcoming, friendly and open to all.”
Mayor Stoney said that the news should be celebrated by the entire city. 
“We have come a long way over the past two years, and will continue our great work to make Richmond more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mayor Announces Appointments to Teacher Advisory Council



Composed of 19 teachers from across the Richmond Public School system, the council will help provide insight into what attracts teachers to Richmond and what will keep them living and working here. It will also offer input to the administration on ways the City can support students outside the school day so they can enter the classroom eager and ready to learn.

“Our educators are a valuable asset with a unique perspective on how to help our children,” said Mayor Stoney. “I look forward to hearing their ideas and I am grateful for their commitment to our kids.”   

The Council will hold its first meeting on Monday, October 15, and will convene bimonthly thereafter with strategic support from Brionna Nomi, doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education.

The Mayor has appointed 19 teachers to the inaugural MTAC representing the diversity of Richmond’s teaching force. They include:

Ms. Coretta (Cory) Adkins, G.H. Reid Elementary School

Mr. Derrick Bates, George Mason Elementary School

Mr. Joshua Bearman, Franklin Military Academy

Ms. Victoria Carll, Open High School

Mr. Brian Condit, Albert Hill Middle School

Ms. Christal Corey, Boushall Middle School

Mr. Marvin Gilliam, George Wythe High School

Ms. Mary Gresham, Richmond Technical Center

Ms. Giles Harnsberger Garrison, Albert Hill Middle School

Dr. Stephanie Hooks, Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School

Ms. Kieasha King, Woodville Elementary School

Mr. Chris Lombardi, Mary Munford Elementary School

Mr. Luis Luna, Huguenot High School

Ms. Catherine Marchetti, Maymont Preschool Center

Ms. Kerry L. Richardson, Barack Obama Elementary School

Ms. Ester Orellana, Huguenot High School

Mr. Darrell Turner, Blackwell Preschool Center

Ms. Elizabeth Wait, Armstrong High School

Ms. Mayzie Zechini, J.L. Francis Elementary School

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

City Launches “Change for RVA Schools” Campaign


Dine in. Take out. Build Schools. Click here to watch Mayor Stoney’s video.

Today the City of Richmond launched a new campaign, “Change for RVA Schools”, to promote and encourage dining in Richmond restaurants as a means to support funding for new school facilities in the city.

“The conditions in many of Richmond’s aging city schools detract from the positive learning environment our kids deserve,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “Making a difference and creating positive change for our kids is deliciously simple; eat city food, help city schools.”


Every time someone visits a Richmond restaurant, 1.5% of their bill will go toward building revenue for new school facilities.

Residents will see ads on GRTC buses and messages posted via social media encouraging them to visit restaurants throughout the city.


For more information, visit ChangeForRVASchools.com and follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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