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City names first deputy city manager for racial equity, diversity and inclusion
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City names first deputy city manager for racial equity, diversity and inclusion

Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles announced the appointment of Ashley Reynolds Marshall as the city’s first deputy city manager for racial equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI) on Monday.

Marshall will oversee a portfolio that includes the new Office of REDI and the human services and social services departments, as well as the staff of the Police Civilian Review Board and the Office of Human Rights. She will report to Boyles and will start the position on May 10. Her annual salary will be $158,000.

“Communities are only strengthened by the diversity of its citizens, as well as the meaningful and courageous community discussions about how to think equitably to ensure that there is an inclusive community identity,” Marshall said in a press release. “As a native Virginian, I appreciate Charlottesville’s commitment to providing the highest quality of life to all.”

Marshall, 38, is originally from Roanoke. She previously served as chief executive officer for the YWCA of Central Virginia in Lynchburg.

She holds a B.A. in psychology from Hollins University, a J.D from the College of William & Mary School of Law and an M.P.A. from Virginia Tech. Marshall is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech, where her dissertation is focused on collaborative governance, corporate social responsibility and collective impact/collaborative programming.

“Ashley will be bringing a wide range of experience and education to this new role for the city,” Boyles said in the release. “As our very first deputy city manager for racial equity, diversity and inclusion, she will be designing this office to best meet the needs of our entire population.”

“Her experience, her demonstrated drive and her lifelong connection to local government makes her the ideal person to lead this effort,” he continued. “I am very pleased in filling the first of a new senior management team for the city with a leader like Ashley. She will set the standard that the city so deserves.”

Brian Wheeler, director of communications for the city, said the position was first recommended in August 2019 by a city manager advisory panel for organizational equity. It originally was proposed as a director position to head the then-proposed REDI office, but the City Council decided to elevate it to a deputy city manager position.

Wheeler said the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in delays in hiring for the position in early 2020, partially due to budget constraints. In late 2020, John Blair, serving as acting city manager at the time, conducted interviews for the position.

“It’s been something that’s been in the works for a while,” Wheeler said. “This year, Boyles was able to review the recommendations from the team that reviewed the resumes and looked at the candidates, speak further with council about their priorities and just confirm that was what they wanted.”

Marshall is a member of the 2013 class of the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program at the University of Virginia and a member of the 2014 class of Emerge Virginia. She also is chairwoman for the Virginia Council on Women, a member of the Virginia Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence and a board member for the Virginia Rural Health Association.

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