Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Statement by The Honorable Michelle R. Mosby: Regarding: A Proposed Ordinance to establish a Council Compensation Review Advisory Committee

Richmond City Council – Richmond City Hall - 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305 - Richmond, Virginia  23219 U.S.A.  -

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Honorable Michelle R. Mosby
Councilwoman, Richmond City Council, Richmond South Central 9th Voter District

Regarding: A Proposed Ordinance by Councilwoman Mosby introduced Monday, July 27, 2015 to establish a Council Compensation Review Advisory Committee to conduct an independent review of the compensation structure for Richmond City Council members.

(Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.) –  Long before I became a member of Richmond City Council, Richmond residents were asking why, with all the work Councilmembers do, is the stipend for them so low. People say that an increase is way past due.

     People have also questioned the low rate as not being fair to those interested in serving and that an increase would mean that even more individuals would be interested in running.

     In response to those questions, and rather than arbitrarily asking for the stipend to be increased, I think that the fiscally responsible and prudent thing to do is to convene an independent advisory committee to study the issue and to find out if in fact this is the case.

     If the committee thinks the current rate is fine then there would be no change, if they think it needs to be increased then that will be considered as well.

     The last time the stipend was increased was about 18 years ago, in 1997. Since that time Richmond has seen major changes. This has included establishing a brand new form of government, changing from a Council-Manager to a Council-Mayor Form of Government, which makes it the only city government like it in Virginia. Richmond also serves the distinction as being the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

     If an update is needed, it has to go through a quite lengthy local and state public approval process. For example, if anything was decided today - it would have public hearings and need Council approval, then would need to be introduced at the state legislative level, have additional public hearings and receive state approval.

     Through all the process, any changes wouldn't go into effect for about two years down the road. This would not affect the current Councilmembers serving the 2013-2016 Richmond City Council Term.

     I don't know of many people who would expect a rate to stay the same for 20 years. For example, since 1990 even the slow-to-increase federal minimum wage rate has gone up seven times.

     The Committee should compare this in light of the amount of time that Councilmembers spend attending Official Richmond City Council Meetings as required by law and other work representing constituents.

     To help ensure accuracy, the review should be comprehensive and should include the annual stipend amount, reimbursement for expenses, health, retirement, and other benefits.

     We should also take a look at what other jurisdictions of comparable population and governmental structure to Richmond are doing. This will be a public process and the committee will hold public hearings in multiple locations around the city to receive public comment on their findings. Once again, if the committee recommends no changes, then no changes would be made.

     The Committee would submit a written report to Council by November 2, 2015, which would allow time, if needed, for any proposed recommendations to be requested for the 2016 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Session. The changes of which would not go into effect until the summer of 2017.

     The next time an increase would be possible after that would be around the year 2021."

CONTACT   For more information, please contact
                  The Honorable Michelle R. Mosby, Councilwoman
                       Richmond City Council, Richmond South Central 9th Voter District,
                       at 804.912.6465 (tel), or (email)

- E N D -

Steve Skinner
Council Public Information Manager
Richmond City Hall
900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305
Richmond, Virginia  23219 U.S.A.
804.646.6052 (office)
804.335.4054 (mobile)
804.937.1386 (home/mobile)
804.646.5468 (fax)

MISSION The mission of Richmond City Council is to
represent citizens in creating and amending local laws,
 providing government policy and oversight, and
approving the city budget.

VISION Richmond City Council is committed to
creating a vibrant community that is a great place
to live, work, learn, play, visit and raise a family.