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Criticism Comes Down on City Council for Clerk of Council Budget Increase

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Charlottesville City Council (FILE IMAGE) Charlottesville City Council (FILE IMAGE)
City Councilor Kathy Galvin. City Councilor Kathy Galvin.
Paige Rice. Paige Rice.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The Clerk of Council Office in Charlottesville is expanding, and it is causing concerns to grow among members of City Council.

Earlier this week, Charlottesville City Council’s Chief of Staff and Clerk of Council Paige Rice announced her resignation from the position.  Now, some on council are debating if a triple digit budget increase for her office was necessary in the first place.

Mayor Nikuyah Walker said that she requested a guest audit of the new Chief of Staff position to make sure it was needed and that the workload and pay were in alignment before Rice resigned.

City Council is receiving criticism for approving a large budget increase for the Clerk of Council’s Office. That increase also came with a title change for the Clerk to Chief of Staff, and more staff.

“The only reason to have this job is if you don’t trust the City Manager,” said concerned Charlottesville resident Lloyd Snook.

Salaries and benefits for the staff increased 115 percent from last year.

“Compared to many other cities our size, Charlottesville has a very unusual work volume, including policy initiatives, scheduling and media requests, email traffic from constituents and interests and advocacy organizations, and FOIA requests,” said city councilor Mike Signer in an email.

Mayor Walker said that councilors should do more of their own work and rely less on staff. Councilor Kathy Galvin said the council has to increasingly create more policy to meet community demand.

“To make this a much more doable job, to get the more diversity that we need, we need staff,” Galvin said. “To get policies people want today, to meet the challenges of today that the federal government is no longer looking at, we need people who can help us plan and orchestrate all the community engagement that we need to do.”

Even though Rice resigned, Walker said she would still like to revisit the office changes. While she acknowledges the increased workload, Walker questions if a title change is needed.

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