City council supports acting treasurer

Council backs acting city treasurer’s continued term; Tea Party requests new candidate’s special election

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Charlottesville City Council Monday evening unanimously endorsed a resolution that would allow Jason Vandever, the chief deputy city treasurer who is currently the acting city treasurer, to continue in his post through the November 2013 elections.

Judge Edward Hogshire, the local circuit court judge, must decide whether the City is required to hold a special election to fill the position of city treasurer until the 2013 general election. The Council Monday evening petitioned against an interim election.

“I think an interim election is going to be costly and confusing and is likely to have very few actual voters,” Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos said.

City Treasurer Jennifer Brown, who served as treasurer for 19 years, recently retired for health reasons. Her retirement, effective Oct. 1, left about 15 months in what she had already anticipated as her fifth and final term in office.

The interim election could cost the City up to $35,000.

City Attorney Craig Brown said Vandever, Brown’s highest-ranking deputy, assumed the office of treasurer and the full powers of the office in accordance with city and state law.

Vandever’s father, Tom Vandever, also had ties to local government as a former Charlottesville mayor and former co-chair of the city’s Democratic Party.

Should Vandever remain as treasurer some residents are concerned he will have a leg up against opponents in the November 2013 election.

The Jefferson Area Tea Party, represented by Chairperson Carol Thorpe, endorsed a special election despite the cost.

“The City Treasurer is the steward of the tax dollars [and we] do have a great concern that there may be someone who wants to run for that position.”

Some Council members questioned the need for the post to be an elected one.

“These days, those positions have become more and more professionalized and less and less politicized, as it should be,” Councilman Dave Norris said. “I fully think these positions should be based on competency and merit [instead of politics].”

Vandever, who did not attend the City Council meeting, said the position of treasurer was elected mainly to increase accountability. The treasurer collects taxes and performs other tasks related to Charlottesville’s finances.

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