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Council members split 4-3 on the raise, which means there will be a final vote at the next meeting.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Roanoke City Council killed a proposal to give members a 28.5 percent raise and took a first step Monday to approving a 10 percent increase.
The council voted 4-3 for the smaller raise after unanimously rejecting the bigger one, but the narrow split means the council will have to vote a second time before it can take effect.
The increase is meant to match some pay increases and projected increases coming to other city employees, said Councilman David Trinkle, who made the proposal.
"What I'm hearing is that you all went down a really bad road, you went down a distracting road," Trinkle said, referring to the 28.5 percent increase that a majority of council voted for but last month had second thoughts about.
"It seems to me 10 percent is reasonable."
Joining Trinkle in favor of the raise were council members Anita Price, Bill Bestpitch and Mayor David Bowers. Council members Sherman Lea, Court Rosen and Ray Ferris were against it.
When the increase takes effect in July 2014, after the May city council election, it would cover four payments:
"I think it is a good compromise," Bowers said. Price echoed that.
While Bestpitch voted for the measure, he said during a morning discussion that he still thought the council needed to move salaries closer to the maximums state law allows.
The 10 percent increase, would raise council members' gross pay from $15,560 to $17,116, compared with the state-set cap of $23,000. It would increase the mayor's salary from $20,000 to $22,000, compared with the state cap of $25,000.
Lea, who had voted for the 28.5 percent increase when it first came before the council, said he opposed the 10 percent increase after hearing citizens' concerns about council pay.
"The bottom line here, for me, is the signal we deliver," said Ferris. He said the way council handled the matter, with the initial proposal for a 28.5 percent increase, had eroded public trust. Rosen echoed that.
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