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Charlottesville promotes Freas to Deputy City Manager for Operations role

Crystal Graham
James Freas charlottesville
James Freas/Submitted photo

The City of Charlottesville has promoted James Freas to the role of Deputy City Manager for Operations. Freas has served as Director of Neighborhood Development Services for the city since September 2021.

Freas has a 15-year background in public service with experience in city planning throughout Massachusetts and Virginia where he has led collaborative planning and implementation work.

Freas has also developed strategies for housing, transportation, climate and economic development, and he has experience drafting policies and zoning ordinances.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and master’s degrees in planning and environmental law from the University of Rhode Island and Vermont Law School.

“I’m excited to continue my work for the City of Charlottesville in this new capacity,” said Freas. “I am looking forward to supporting the City Manager and City Council in achieving their vision and goals for organizational excellence and innovation in the work of the operations team.”

The Deputy City Manager for Operations will oversee a variety of assignments relating to the city’s capital improvement plan and special projects, organization-wide initiatives and operational efficiencies. His portfolio will include the offices of community solutions, public works, transit and utilities.

Freas will hold dual roles as Deputy City Manager for Operations and Director of Neighborhood Development Services until his previous position is filled.

“I am happy to see James step up and contribute in a bigger way as he has already proven to be an asset as evidenced by his ability to lead our whole city to a conclusion of the full rewrite of the comp plan, future land use map and zoning ordinance,” said Samuel Sanders, Jr., Charlottesville city manager.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.