Roanoke City Councilman changes support for pay raise - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Roanoke City Councilman changes support for pay raise

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A Roanoke City councilman hopes to make amends, following his frustrations Monday, during the vote on the proposal to increase council's pay.

Council reversed its decision to pass the pay hike on a five to two vote.

Councilman Sherman Lea and mayor David Bowers voted in favor of the 28%.

Lea appeared visibly angry afterwards and left the meeting.

Tuesday, Lea sent out an e-mail saying he has since quote "assessed the public's reaction" and decided to support an eight-percent salary increase because it's more reasonable.

"I deliberated hard and long thinking about what's fair and that's difficult to do.," Lea says. "I'm tired of kicking this down the road, and it's out of respect for our citizens and our city employees, and they've trusted this city to me and after some soul searching, I think its the right thing to do."

The 8% would cover what council will lose because of new costs for the state pension system and health care.

Lea added that he's mostly disappointed in the way the vote was handled and hopes to implement a more transparent process for citizens in the future.

The story on the delayed vote is here.

This is a copy of Lea's e-mail:

Colleagues,

 You are aware that local governments have many moving parts and important issues can sometimes change after discussion.  I have always thought of myself as a good leader in our community. The citizens have trusted me to serve by giving me their vote on three different occasions.  With this in mind, I have assessed the public's reaction to our deliberations and have decided to support an 8% salary increase.  This is done out of respect for not only our city employees, but also for our citizens in the community.

 In the future, as we proceed with various discussions at either a workshop or retreat, I feel there needs to be a process in place for council to consider pay increases that is transparent and in line with future city employee raises.

I am sharing this with each of you to make my position clear and to move forward with the business of the city.  I feel that this council has accomplished some tremendous things over the last four years and I appreciate working with each of you.

 Sherman P. Lea

 Roanoke City Council

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