Councilmembers push back against pay raises for City Manager, Attorney

The City Manager and City Attorney would see the highest pay of more than $200,000.

VIRGINIA BEACH, (WVEC) -- Every year, city council is tasked with approving higher salaries for high-ranking city staff and this year, a new councilwoman is posing opposition.

The vote surrounds a 2% pay increase for five full-time workers, including the City Manager and City Attorney. The raises would bring their salaries within the $250,000 range.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Councilwoman Jessica Abbott says raises amount to approximately $17,000.

"Many residents are struggling to make their (mostly stagnant) pay checks work for their families," she said. "The City offers our appointed staff more than sufficient compensation."

Abbott went on to say "I plan on voting no to these proposed increases on Tuesday."

Councilman John Moss also previously spoke out on Facebook in line with Abbott.

Mayor Will Sessoms says the increase is fair and needed to stay competitive with other cities. 

"Just recently, we had a Hampton Roads city manager go to another city for a substantial salary increase, considerably more than what our current city manager is making," Sessoms said.

13News Now spoke with councilwoman Barbara Henley who is also in support and planned to vote "yes" as in previous years.

Taxpayers told 13News Now they see the argument from both sides.

"These people are working for us and we want them to do a good job and be sincere in what they do, then we've gotta take care of them," said one resident. "We've gotta give them a raise every year just like everyone else working a job would want."

"I think it would be a good example not to ask for raises," another resident said. "There are so many other things that need to be done in the city..infratructure.. Like the roads."

According to the post, Abbott agreed with money going toward infrustructure. Sessoms said money is already allocated, but eventually wants to see higher raises for city employees who also received a 2% increase.

"We've got to work within our means," Sessoms said.

The raises were approved by city council Wednesday evening. They will go into effect July 1.  

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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