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Councilwoman Price once understood the offensiveness of a pay grab.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Roanoke Councilwoman Anita Price is expected on Monday to cast her lot again with the trio pushing for controversial raises. While Mayor David Bowers and Councilmen Bill Bestpitch and Sherman Lea have pleaded their case, Price has been mostly silent. She wasn’t always quiet on the topic of council raises.
In July 2002, Price was president of the Roanoke Education Association. On the same day that city council’s paychecks rose by 3.5 percent, members schemed to pad their salaries by another 3 percent. The raises rankled the public.
Said Price: “It’s the principle of the matter, that’s what makes this so offensive. With the current budget cutbacks, council has asked other people to sacrifice, but it’s going to go ahead and take care of its next pay increase. I just can’t comprehend where it’s coming from.”
Principles don’t change; perspectives of those holding them may. Before casting her vote Monday, Price should recall the perspective she had then and remember it’s the one most city employees, educators and taxpayers still hold.
It isn’t too late for Price to change her mind and vote against raising her salary 28.5 percent and the mayor’s 15 percent.
There is a more prudent choice — one that would allow for a more modest raise in keeping with the same pay increases council has granted employees. And it would be large enough to protect council members’ net pay once they begin paying 6 percent toward pension and retirement health savings accounts. Most of all, it would not be so offensive.
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