City Council president seeks to ensure successor

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 11/16/2023, 6 p.m.
Outgoing City Council President Michael J. Jones plans to keep his 9th District seat until Dec. 31, according to a ...
Dr. Jones

Outgoing City Council President Michael J. Jones plans to keep his 9th District seat until Dec. 31, according to a letter of resignation he submitted to his colleagues and the City Clerk.

That appears to represent a change in the timing for the council departure of the full-time minister, who is headed to the General Assembly after winning his uncontested election to represent the 77th House District.

According to a timeline presented to the council before the Nov. 7 election, Dr. Jones was anticipated to step down this month as council seeks applicants to serve as an interim to fill the seat until a new representative is elected in November 2024 to fill the seat.

Dr. Jones declined to comment on his decision, but the Free Press has learned he is remaining in place so he can vote on his successor, which is considered likely to happen at the final 2023 council meeting on Monday, Dec. 11.

As the Free Press previously reported, Dr. Jones wants the interim to be School Board member Nicole Jones, no relation, who also is planning to run for the seat next year.

The Free Press has been told that at least four council members already signaled their support for Ms. Jones.

Dr. Jones would cast the decisive fifth vote if he remains on the council to ensure Ms. Jones’ appointment. No mention was made that Ms. Jones is the likely choice as City Clerk Candice Reid advised the council during their informal session that the online application process had been put in place Monday.

In a release issued after the meeting, the council announced 9th District residents could apply through Monday, Nov. 27, using the form at https://cityofRichmond.formstack.com./forms/vacancy.

During a brief discussion, Dr. Jones did not mention his endorsement of Ms. Jones, but did seek to quash any suggestion that the council could seek a pledge from any appointee not to run.

Dr. Cynthia I. Newbille, 7th District, recalled that the council never asked Betty L. Squire about her political intentions in February 2009 when she was appointed to fill the Church Hill-Fulton seat that Delores L. McQuinn vacated after being elected to the House of Delegates.

Dr. Newbille, who ended up winning the seat in a special election held in November 2009, said Ms. Squire made the decision not to run without any prompting from the council.