Councilors Worry Motion to Raise Salaries Won't be Introduced during GA Session
Members of City Council are insisting that they be allowed to set their own salaries at an uncapped amount.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Members of City Council are insisting that they be allowed to set their own salaries at an uncapped amount.
They passed that motion back in December, but now time is running out and state lawmakers say those raises may not happen.
A state lawmaker must introduce that legislation when the General Assembly meets, but so far no one is willing to bring that charter to January's session.
“I think we haven’t had the time that we typically would have to have discussions with our representatives,” Councilor Kathy Galvin said.
Before state lawmakers like Delegate David Toscano gather in Richmond on Wednesday, January 9, Charlottesville City Council is trying to convince them to pass a new city charter.
“This is kind of unique because what the City Council is asking us to do is to give them the authority to raise their salaries to an uncapped amount and totally outside what other localities do in the commonwealth,” Toscano said. “That's gonna be a nonstarter in the General Assembly.”
City Council passed the motion for that salary increase at a meeting in December. But since councilors are behind schedule this year with desired legislation, they haven’t yet had time to meet with Toscano.
“We got our package pulled together pretty late in the day, and we should be having these discussions with our local legislators in the summertime, so I have a feeling a lot of that was simply because we didn’t have enough time to talk it through,” Galvin said.
Galvin believes that a raise in salary could allow more people to run for spots on City Council.
“I think it’s a sign to respect the office,” Galvin said. “This is a very important office and I do believe that if it has a higher rate of pay to it, you would be able to get a more diverse pool of people applying to step up to the plate and run for office.”
“I think it is legitimate to raise the question about whether all people can serve given the nature of the pay, and perhaps the pay ought to be raised,” Toscano said. “But the question is: do you want to put limits on the pay increases, and the City Council proposal didn’t put any limits on it and that’s what I think is giving people a lot of heartburn.”
Toscano has said he is willing to raise City Council's salaries, with limits.
He anticipates working with councilors on this sometime in the future.