Form of Government and City Officials

The City of Virginia Beach was chartered as a municipal corporation by the General Assembly of Virginia on January 1, 1963. The City operates under Council-Manager form of government.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The eleven member City Council is the City's legislative body. The City Manager is appointed by Council and acts as Chief Executive Officer. Through his staff, he implements policies established by Council. Three Council members and the Mayor serve "at large" with no District residency requirement. All others are required to live in the District they represent: Bayside, Centerville, Kempsville, Lynnhaven, Princess Anne, Rose Hall and Beach Districts.

City Council elections are held every two years during the November General Elections, which is the 1st Tuesday following the first Monday in November of even numbered years.  The Mayor is elected to a four-year term through "direct" election. The Mayor presides over Council meetings, serves as the ceremonial head and spokesperson for the City, and assumes other duties as necessary.

The Vice-Mayor is elected by the City Council at the first meeting in January following a Council election. The Vice-Mayor is charged with carrying out the duties of the Mayor in his or her absence.​


City Council

Will Sessoms is a lifelong Virginia Beach resident who began his political career in 1988 as an at large member of City Council. In 1992, his fellow council members selected him to be Vice Mayor, a position he held for 10 years. He was elected Mayor in 2008, and re-elected in 2012. Following a 35-year career in banking, Mayor Sessoms retired as President/CEO of Towne Financial Services Group in 2014.

Louis Jones

Vice Mayor

Vice Mayor Jones Vice Mayor Jones is president and owner of Holloman-Brown Funeral Home, Inc., and Tidewater Cemetery Corporation. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the College of William & Mary (Old Dominion University) and is a graduate of the Echols College of Mortuary Science. He serves on the Virginia State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.

Jessica Abbott

Councilmember, Kempsville

Jessica Abbott was born to two Air Force veterans in Colorado Springs, CO and has been managing her family’s insurance business (Matt Abbott State Farm) in Kempsville since 2008. She graduated from Kellam High School in 2007, graduated from the American College of Financial Services in 2015 with LUTCF and FSCP designations and is a FEMA-certified flood insurance agent.

Ben Davenport

Councilmember, At Large

A native of Virginia Beach, Councilmember Davenport attended Trantwood Elementary, Great Neck Middle and Frank W. Cox High School. Davenport is a residential real estate broker. He was a Realtor in Virginia Beach from 2002 to 2010 before joining his family's real estate business.

Robert Dyer

Councilmember, Centerville

Councilmember Dyer is serving his fourth term on the City Council and represents the Centerville District. He currently serves as an assistant professor in the School of Government at Regent University, where he teaches public administration.

Barbara Henley

Councilmember, Princess Anne

Councilmember Henley is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's in urban studies. She taught school in the city's public schools system and is serving her eighth term on City Council.

Shannon Kane

Councilmember, Rose Hall

Councilmember Kane is a strong advocate for entrepreneurship, as well as the value of volunteerism and nonprofit groups in the community. She is president and founder of marketing firm, EWR Management Group in Virginia Beach and currently serves as president of the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeast Virginia.

John Moss

Councilmember, At Large

Councilmember Moss was re-elected to the City Council in November 2014 following a special election in November 2011. He served two prior terms on City Council, as the Kempsville Borough Representative (1986 - 1990) and as an at large member (1992 - 1995). Moss serves as the Director of the Submarine Program Requirements and Warfare Development for the Commander Submarines Force Atlantic.

John Uhrin

Councilmember, Beach

Councilmember Uhrin is serving his third term on City Council. He grew up in a Navy family near Lynnhaven Mall, attended Brookwood Elementary, Plaza Junior High School and graduated from Kellam High School in 1986. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and finance from Old Dominion University.

Rosemary Wilson

Councilmember, At Large

Councilmember Wilson has held elected office since 1996 - first with the School Board (1996 to 2000, including being vice chairman), then with the City Council (2000 to present). A graduate of Bayside High School and Old Dominion University, Wilson is a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Towne Realty.

James Wood

Councilmember, Lynnhaven

Councilmember Wood was first elected to City Council in 2002 and is now serving his fourth consecutive term serving his fourth consecutive term. A former Virginia Beach police officer, he owns and manages firms engaged in commercial and general contracting and residential and commercial property management.


State Appointed Officers

Thomas R. Cahill

Chief Magistrate

The Virginia Beach Office of the Magistrate is committed to delivering professional and informed judicial services to all citizens, law enforcement and government agencies twenty-four hours a day 365 days a year.

Olymphia A. Perkins

Director, Second District Court Service Unit

The Juvenile Probation Department, Court Services Unit, provides short term, intensive family and marriage counseling, as well as counseling for runaways, truants and victims of spousal abuse. The Department also processes petitions against juveniles including support, custody, visitation and certain adoption petitions. The Department also screens for placement of juveniles who are arrested and taken into custody.

Donna Patterson

Director of Elections/General Registrar

The Voter Registration and Elections office maintains the current registration and elections process for Virginia Beach voters and meets mandatory state and federal standards for access to voter registration, such as the regulations of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).


Constitutional Officers

John T. Atkinson

City Treasurer

It is the mission of the Office of the Treasurer to ensure economic vitality by the collection of revenue for the City of Virginia Beach and to support the mission of all other City Departments.

Tina E. Sinnen

Circuit Court Clerk

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is a Constitutional Official and is elected by the voters of the locality and every Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Virginia is a court of record. The Clerk of court is charged with the custody, safekeeping and proper indexing of legal and quasi-legal papers deposited in her office.

Philip J. Kellam

Commissioner of the Revenue

Virginia Beach Commissioner of the Revenue, Philip J. Kellam, is a publicly elected representative of the people responsible for the just administration of local taxes levied by the government as indicated in the Code of Virginia and Virginia Beach local tax ordinances.

Colin Stolle

Commonwealth's Attorney

The Commonwealth’s Attorney is a constitutional officer elected by the voters of Virginia Beach. His office is responsible for prosecuting those charged with violating the criminal laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia in Virginia Beach.

Our mission is to provide for the public safety of the citizens of Virginia Beach, through the efficient and professional operations of the Sheriff's Office as provided for in the Constitution and the Code of Virginia.


Appointed Officers

David L. Hansen

City Manager

Dave Hansen as City Manager for the City of Virginia Beach, serves as executive and administrative leader of the city government; plans, directs, and coordinates the work of the Deputy City Managers and Department Directors to ensure alignment with City Council's vision.

Mark D. Stiles

City Attorney

Ruth Hodges Fraser

City Clerk

The City Clerk provides a historical record of the governing body (some records date as early as the 1860's); prepares and distributes the City Council Agenda, Minutes and Summary of Action; provides administrative services to City Council and the citizens; attests to all official documents insuring compliance with legislative law and City Council Action; provides and monitors legal advertising; and maintains the highest standards of customer service. The City Clerk also administers all Sister City activities and coordinates cultural, economic, educational and other partnership exchanges. All members of the staff have continued their education with Old Dominion University and are certified through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in procedures, ethics and conduct.

Jerald Banagan

Real Estate Assessor

The mission of the Real Estate Assessor's Office is to annually inventory and appraise all taxable and tax exempt real estate in the City, fairly and equitably, in accordance with Virginia State Law and Virginia Beach City Code, and provide information and assistance to the City Council, City Staff, State Department of Taxation and the public, regarding the land book and individual assessments.

Lyndon S. Remias

City Auditor

Lyndon S. Remias was appointed by the Virginia Beach City Council in May 2008 to become the City's first appointed City Auditor. Remias is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and has a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA). Remias has over 20 years of public, private, and governmental auditing experience.


Management Leadership Team

Ronald H. Williams, Jr.

Deputy City Manager

Ron oversees the departments of Agriculture, Aquarium & Museums, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cultural Affairs Office, Economic Development, Housing & Neighborhood Preservation, and Planning & Community Development. Ron served as Norfolk's Deputy City Manager directing major capital projects and public-private partnerships such as the Slover Library, the $146 million hotel and conference center, the Norfolk Premium Outlets, and the Norfolk Amtrak Station. Prior to becoming their Deputy City Manager, Ron held many other positions in the City of Norfolk, gaining experience to lead him to where he is today. He was their Director of Budget Management & Grants, the Special Assistant to the City Manager, Acting Grants Director, and Director of Intergovernmental Relations. He was awarded the 2016 Julian F. Hirst Award for Distinguished Service from the American Society for Public Administration–Hampton Roads Chapter. ​Ron holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the Virginia Military Institute and has a master's degree in Business Administration from Regent University.

Kenneth L. Chandler

Deputy City Manager

Ken Chandler has 27 years of executive level public sector experience in diverse communities including Richmond, Arlington County, Dallas, TX, Portsmouth and, most recently, the District of Columbia. He oversees the departments of Human Services, Libraries, Parks & Recreation, Human Resources and Public Health as well as the offices of Organizational Development and Volunteer Resources. Ken earned a Doctor of Strategic Leadership from Regent University, a Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University and a BA from Morehouse College. He is an International City Manager's Association (ICMA) Credentialed Manager and is a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Tom Leahy

Deputy City Manager

Before assuming the Deputy City Manager position, Mr. Leahy was the Director of Public Utilities which provides water and sewer service for more than 425,000 people. Before that, he was the Water Resources Manager during which time he was Project Manager for a $150 million pipeline project to transfer 60 million gallons of water per day from Lake Gaston to southeast Virginia.

Steven R. Cover

Deputy City Manager

Steve Cover became Deputy City Manager over Public Safety effective, November 7, 2016. As the Fire Chief, Steve served as the Virginia Beach Fire Department since 1980. He has operated in many roles within the department including line and staff functions. He has provided oversight for all special operations functions including the Hazardous Materials Team, the Technical Rescue Team, the Marine Response Team and the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team VA-TF2.


Department Leadership

Ed Brazle

Chief of Emergency Medical Services

Chief Ed Brazle oversees the largest volunteer EMS agency in the country. He joined Virginia Beach EMS as a volunteer with the Kempsville Volunteer Rescue Squad in 1990 while on active duty as a naval officer. He served in a number of positions in the squad, including Captain and President. After leaving the Navy in 1996, he was hired as the Regulation and Enforcement Coordinator, later advancing to the Division Chief level. He has completed tours as Chief the Operations, Support Services and Administration Divisions. Over the years he has had a leading role in numerous major initiatives including, creation of the CQI Program, integration of career and volunteer medics, deployment of AEDs on police cars, ALS capability on fire engines, new station construction and the Air Medical Program. He was name to the City of Virginia Beach Employee Hall of Fame in 2013. Chief Brazle is a Nationally Certified Paramedic and acts as the Chief Flight Medic for the department. He participates on a number of committees at the local, regional and state level. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University.

Stephen Williams

Director of Emergency Communications & Citizen Services

Stephen C. Williams is director of Emergency Communications and Citizen Services (ECCS), which operates Virginia Beach's 911 emergency system, as well as its 311 non-emergency system. Director Williams began his career as an EMS captain and firefighter with the Harvest Volunteer Fire Department in Harvest, Ala., and as a 911 public safety dispatcher in Huntsville, Ala. He earned a bachelor's degree in management information systems from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Mr. Williams came to us in 2015 from Washington, D.C., where he served as chief of operations in the Office of Unified Communications from December 2012 until coming to Virginia Beach in August of 2015. While in Washington, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of both the District's 911 and 311 divisions.

Jim A. Cervera

Police Chief

James A. (Jim) Cervera, a 32-year veteran of the Virginia Beach Police Department, was appointed Chief of Police by City Manager James K. Spore effective on September 1, 2010.

David Trimmer

Director of Agriculture

The mission of the Department of Agriculture is to provide leadership, coordination and education to enhance the economic vitality of the City's agriculture industry and the preservation and enhancement of its quality physical environment, to assist citizens in strengthening their families and to provide citizens and visitors with cultural and recreational opportunities by preserving our agricultural and rural heritage.

Brad van Dommelen

Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau

Van Dommelen has spent much of his career in Michigan. He has been president of the Traverse City (MI) Convention & Visitors Bureau (Traverse City Tourism) since 2005 and before that, was senior vice president of strategic business development at the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. Under his leadership, the Traverse City Tourism organization received the “Best CVB in Michigan” award by the readers of Michigan Meetings & Events magazine an unprecedented six out of the last seven years.

Warren Harris

Director of Economic Development

The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is charged with expanding and diversifying the tax base and employment opportunities for the city through business development. The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development can be your one-stop resource for business and site evaluation information.

Andrew Friedman

Director of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation

Lynn Clements

Director of Museums & Historic Resources

The mission of the Department of Museums is to develop a cultural environment in Virginia Beach that encourages public involvement in science and history.

Emily S. Labows

Director of Cultural Affairs

The City of Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs fosters an environment that encourages innovation and excellence within the Virginia Beach arts community. Cultural Affairs, along with the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, funds programs and services that build community and transform lives by enhancing enjoyment, understanding and participation in the arts.

Barry Frankenfield

Director of Planning & Community Development

The mission of the Department of Planning & Community Development is to support the planning and development process of land use and reuse in the City of Virginia Beach, to ensure orderly development and land use so that the economic and aesthetic viability of the City is maintained and enhanced as it relates to the physical function of the City. This process is supported by plan review, special planning studies, support for the Planning Commission and other planning related boards and commissions, development review, zoning enforcement, permit issuance, and building inspection.

Regina Hilliard

Director of Human Resources

The mission of the Department of Human Resources​ is to facilitate the development of a culture that attracts and retains a creative and effective workforce dedicated to providing the best municipal government, and assists the Human Rights Commission in its mission to respond to the needs of a diverse citizenry.

Michael J. Kalvort

Director of Parks & Recreation

The vision of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is a balanced, sustainable and value-focused system of parks, recreation and public spaces that creates a sense of community.

Eva Poole

Director of Public Libraries

Virginia Beach Public Library provides citizens with information and skills needed for success, now and in the future.

Julie Hill

Communications Director

The City Manager's Office Communications Office develops mutual understanding and support between the city government, the community and diverse publics by communicating information, managing municipal public relations, and encouraging citizen involvement.

James E. Parke

Director of Volunteer Resources

In 2009, Jim was appointed to the City of Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission and continues to volunteer with the group today. On June 2, 2014, Jim was appointed by City Council to be the Office of Volunteer Resources Volunteer Director and does so by supporting staff and serving as an ambassador of volunteerism with all levels of city government. Jim was both a priest and longtime friend of his predecessor Director and Founder Mary Russo. Taking on this role was an honor.

Bob Montague

Director of Public Utilities

The mission of the Public Utilities Department is to provide potable public water, including fire protection and public sanitary sewer service, to the citizens of Virginia Beach.

Phillip A. Davenport

Director of Public Works

The mission of the Department of Public Works is to proactively enhance the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Virginia Beach by overseeing the design and construction of new City structures and transportation facililties to ensure maximum use and benefit; maintain a large portion of the City's infrastructure; provide for the collection, recycling and disposal of solid waste to ensure a healthy environment.

Dannette R. Smith

Director of Human Services

Dannette R. Smith, Director, Human Services Department. Ms. Smith was selected to be the Director for the Virginia Beach Human Services effective July 1, 2013. She leads over 1,200 employees across eight divisions and manages a budget in excess of $108.4 Million. This budget funds approximately 60 programs offering Virginia Beach citizens the opportunity to achieve the highest level of self-sufficiency, safety, and quality of life possible, through an array of coordinated services delivered in a climate of dignity, respect, and accountability.

Patricia A. Phillips

Director of Finance

is the Director of Finance for the City of Virginia Beach. As the Director, she ensures direction, planning and coordination of departmental services provided by: Debt Administration, Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Payroll, Risk Management, Comptroller, Minority Business Council and the Deferred Compensation Board.

Pedro Wallace

Chief Information Officer

Pedro Wallace was appointed Chief Information Officer for the City of Virginia Beach in March 2017. In this role, Wallace is responsible for the management and oversight of the department of Information Technology which provides and supports communications, information, and technology solutions to enable city businesses, inform the community, and improve and promote quality of life and public safety.

Contact Information