Sunday, April 5, 2009

Council Members Should Donate Their Salary

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea makes his point.

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea makes his point.

It ought to be up to each individual Council person …  if an individual Council member wants to donate all their salary that’s fine,” said Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea. No one took him up on that at Saturday morning’s budget Council session.

It was Councilwoman Gwen Mason’s idea to roll back City Council salaries to the 2007 level. It reduces the Mayor’s salary from $20,000 to $18,000 and Council members from $16,000 to something like $14,500. Mason said that “other people are sacrificing an awful lot.” Councilman Rupert Cutler jumped in saying “I’ll support that.” Privately someone said to me they thought it was a campaign tactic. Mason is running for the house of delegates 17th district. It probably would have been more prudent and less obvious had she urged one of her other colleagues to introduce the resolution.

Lea himself is already paying for attending city events like the neighborhood conference out of his own pocket. Travel expense allowance for Council members has already been curtailed as a result of former Councilman Alfred Dowe, Jr.’s misuse of the city’s credit card.

There are clearly individual Council members who are say “less in need of” the $16,000 salary. These members could donate their entire salary and not “feel any pain” while other members would at least feel possibly a slight dent. Let them donate their salaries to the causes they hold dear. Cutler at Saturday mornings meeting wanted to restore the cuts to the greenway, event zone, and art so why does he not donate his salary to make them whole?

I agree with Vice-Mayor Lea that those Council members who are so compelled and can most afford it should do like 2 Waynesboro Council members are doing individually – forgoing their salaries or donate it.

As a city taxpayer I do not begrudge their salary or their meager lunches. I can assure you they work through lunch holding briefings, work sessions, and joint meetings with the school board, airport commission, legislative sessions, etc.  So let the donating begin!

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary, Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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