Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Samuels Out as Council President; Clear Path for Mosby

How her ascendancy could be seen as a coup for the mayor.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM

click to enlarge Michelle Mosby
  • Michelle Mosby

City Councilman Charles Samuels says he's no longer seeking reelection by his colleagues to serve as council president for another two-year term. The move paves the way for first-year Councilwoman Michelle Mosby to take the spot.

"Yesterday I informed my colleagues on Richmond City Council that I am withdrawing my name for consideration as Richmond City Council President," Samuels, who represents the Fan, said in a statement. "I have also spoken with Councilwoman Mosby on her expected nomination and installation as Council President in January and congratulated her."

Mosby has been lobbying for the position for months, according to multiple sources. Councilman Chris Hilbert is expected to become vice president.

Though the position largely is symbolic -- the president mainly is responsible for setting the agenda and presiding over meetings -- Mosby's rise could be seen a coup for Mayor Dwight Jones. As a council member, Mosby has supported all of Jones' major legislative proposals. Samuels has been more of a swing vote, but notably opposed Jones' proposal to build a ballpark development in Shockoe Bottom.

Mosby's rise in city politics has been quick and unexpected. Though she handily beat incumbent Councilman Doug Conner in the 9th District, her election was a surprise to political observers.

"Bluntly, I didn't see her coming," Jones' senior policy adviser, David Hicks, said at the time. "The election was what it was, but knock on wood, I try not to get caught by surprise too often, but this is an instance in which I was."

Since then, she's chalked up some successes. The first piece of legislation she introduced, which prevents the city from asking job applicants for certain positions whether they've been convicted of a felony, passed easily and advanced one of her major policy initiatives: To make it easier for ex-offenders to rebuild their lives after a criminal conviction.

Mosby also has experienced some missteps. CBS-6 reported in September that Mosby hired a man living with her as her council liaison, a position that pays between $23,000 and $60,000 a year.

Mosby told the station that she and her liaison aren't romantically involved and don't share a bathroom.

“I have a problem with the fact that everyone wants me to help 23,000 people I don’t know, but I can’t help a friend I’ve been knowing all my life? How fair is that?” Mosby told the station.


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