necessity

Archived Story

Councilmen: Surprise pay raise discussion was planned

Published 10:00pm Thursday, January 17, 2013

A proposal to give Suffolk City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn a 14-percent raise on Wednesday came as a surprise to people who watch council’s agenda for upcoming meeting topics, since it was added to the agenda during the meeting.

But for the council member who proposed it and at least three of the others who voted in the 6-2 majority to increase Cuffee-Glenn’s salary by more than $22,000 per year, the discussion hardly took them by surprise

“We knew it was going to come up the first of the year,” said Councilman Jeffrey Gardy, who voted in favor of the increase. “It’s something we had to face. It was a good night to do it, because there wasn’t a lot on the agenda.”

Adding the item to the agenda at the last minute meant citizens were not aware of it ahead of time. If it had been included with the published agenda, citizens could have registered through Tuesday to speak about the topic before council voted on it.

The pay hike to $178,000 for Cuffee-Glenn was placed on the agenda by Councilman Charles Parr, who made a motion for it to be discussed in closed session and then made the motion in regular session to raise the salary.

The move came after last year’s contentious budget process, when a proposal to increase Cuffee-Glenn’s salary by 21 percent was included in an initial budget proposal. City Council removed the proposal at the time, and the city manager received the same 3-percent increase that other city employees got when the current budget took effect in July.

Parr said the decision to propose the larger raise on Wednesday was his.

“That was me making an adjustment to the agenda,” he said. “I have no qualms about it.”

Councilman Michael Duman, who also voted in favor of the raise, said he knew late last week that the issue would be discussed.

“I was just informed it was going to be brought up,” he said. “I was aware it was going to be discussed.”

Councilman Curtis Milteer, who voted for the raise, suggested he also had known the issue would come up on Wednesday.

“It had been discussed numerous times over a period of time,” he said. “I’m not saying where it was discussed at.”

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said Thursday that Cuffee-Glenn’s base pay had been the lowest in Hampton Roads’ seven cities and referred to a chart provided by the city that showed her base salary as lower than that of similar officials in James City, York and Isle of Wight counties. Her base pay now is higher than that of the administrators in all three counties and also outpaces the Portsmouth city manager’s base pay.

“If you look at those numbers, it’s really not about the person,” Johnson said. “Our position was woefully lower. I think it’s in the right place (now).”

On Thursday, Parr said Cuffee-Glenn has saved the city a substantial amount of money.

“(She’s) saved the city over $50 million in bond financing fees … and we’ve gone from the brink of bankruptcy to almost having a AAA rating,” he said. “I think you should reward people that have gotten you there.”

Parr said he feels all city employees should get cost-of-living pay increases, and he hopes the money will be available this year to implement the second phase of a compensation plan that is addressing below-market pay and salary compression.

“I think everybody deserves an increase if their performance dictates it,” he said. “I find it ironic that we don’t mind paying a football player millions and millions of dollars and he goes out and does something wrong, but someone that saves you millions and millions of dollars, (some think) they shouldn’t get anything.”

Newly elected council members Roger Fawcett and Lue Ward were the only council members to oppose the raise. They both said Wednesday night that they were too new on the council to make a quick decision on such an issue.

 

PrintFriendly
  • jameshere

    Charles Parr must go. His funeral home would go broke with raises like that to his empoloyees. Ask why there is a chain around the front door of Riddick’s Folly. City paid for work not done. Why was city money paid for the entrance to Hilton Garden work. I know . Poor engineering by the Dept of Public Works in the beginning.
    Riddick’s Folly was the city’s capital improvement dept. head’s performance.

    Suggest Removal

  • Lovebug

    Its nice of our Council members to recognize that employees do a good job and deserve a raise. What I don’t understand is this…..She got her 3% raise and so did other city employees. One of which I live with and that raise came out to about .40 cents a pay period .80 cents a month $9.60 a year! Personally, I feel the money they are giving her could be filtered out to those who are working and working hard! She doesn’t need her own security and neither do the council members. She doesn’t need FREE health insurance. She doesn’t need $12,000 a year put into her retirement VIA our tax money. And given she is issued a CITY SUV that she ordered for herself and other dept heads she certainly doesn’t need additional money for a personal vehicle. Why all the perks paid for by tax money? This is money that could be given back to the city workers who are working short staffed and very long hours year after year with less than a $10 raise. Council members say they fear her leaving and what they would end up with. LOL I can tell you what you will end up with…..ANOTHER CITY MANAGER and maybe one that appreciates just having a job. Sounds like someone needs the Lord in her life because she has completely lost all focus on what is truly important in this life!

    Suggest Removal

  • Roger Leonard

    Not surprising, and yes, another disapointment in our City Council…

    I am unsure how this kind of action and pay raise could really be justified!!! Who is next up for a big raise?

    Suggest Removal

  • AC1201

    It would be enlightening to the 50% of city residents who haven’t noticed the CM’s pay raise if we were to pick a nice public corner like the one in front of Duman’s place to do a little picket protest.

    Something like “Dear Mike, will your employees be getting 30% raises, too?”

    This is an outrage and should result in personal embarrassment to the council members. If that isn’t effective, then a recall should be held. But you know what? We probably aren’t willing to work that hard, so we get what we get.

    In the meantime, half the senior staff who could explain the depth of her arrogant incompetence have already left.

    Suggest Removal

    • spdrltr

      What is the time and date for the neighborly gathering?

      Suggest Removal

  • suffolklady

    According to yesterday’s Virginian-Pilot, she is also getting $12000/yr added to her retirement account and fully paid health and dental insurance. Unbelievable.

    Suggest Removal

  • Sea

    Some of the comments below suggest voting the current council out. Which I believe would be a good thing.

    The job now is to find a viable candidate to replace them.

    Suggest Removal

  • uhoh

    So….. She got all 3 installments of this raise at one time? Or will she be getting a total of 66,000? Somebody fill me in please.

    Suggest Removal

  • catman2

    Here’s the math on making CM’s pay comparable to the other CM’s in the Southside. These ratios are taken by dividing the CM’s pay by the locality population. The population is somewhat reflective of the staff size and scope that the CM oversees. The data was taken from today’s VP.

    CM ratios by City in order of best paid

    Suffolk 2.1
    Portsmouth 1.8
    Chesapeake .9
    Norfolk .9
    Virginia Beach .5

    Suggest Removal

    • jhuxster

      So proportionately our CM is payed more than 4 times as much as Virginia Beach and double what the pay is for Norfolk and Chesapeake. Thanks for doing the work–you saved me the trouble.

      Suggest Removal

  • concernedcitizen

    Well, well, well. In a story by the News Herald on April 9, 2012, we found that ‘Manager proposes 21-percent raise for herself.” Of course, citizens were outraged, especially since rank and file City employees were in limbo,awaiting the results of the “Compensation Study.” In the end, employees AND Cuffee-Glen got 3% raise, with the promise of more in the future.In some convoluted formlua, “some,but not all” employees would receieve raises over the next 3 years, 1/3 each year. Which employees? How much? All of that information was to be provided before the raises were to take effect in January 2013. Guess what? That never happened. Instead, some employees did indeed receive a raise, but have no idea how they were calculated or what the total percentage or amount would be in total. These employee received a form letter from HR stating their overall benefit package had increased and included no specifics. Addtionally, what about the employees which did not get the raise? Why were they not included? How was this detemined by the compensation study? But, somehow,coupled with the 3% she got in July, Cuffee-Glen’s raise now totals a whopping 17%! Why isn’t she required to wait 3 years? Or, is she? Is this her first 1/3? Who knows,these questions couldn’t be asked because City Council purposely kept the public in the dark by not listing the vote on the agenda. It is clear that council only postponed the raise until they could be reelected!Great transparency. I hope the two new council members don’t become corrupt as well.
    Council believes Cuffee-Glen deserves it. Well,it’s easy to be perceived as doing a great job if you just hide all the issues, like the IT debacle! How many other smoldering cauldrons are there within the City’s other departments that have yet to come to light? Why is City Council out of the loop? Oh, I know, you can’t get them to approve a $22,000 raise if they know you are asleep at the wheel! Citizens of Suffolk, wake up! They should all be removed! But we won’t, so don’t be surprised when the remaining two huge, disputed salaries are approved as well. Ms.Agnew, I think you have some more digging to do! Why are City employees being left in the dark about their proposed raises, but Cuffee-Glen’s is front page news?

    Suggest Removal

    Suggest Removal

  • suffolk23

    The IT manager was fired and is gone. But lets not forget how a city managers wife from another city was boosted from a entry level position. To assistant manager in charge of this department.

    Lets not forget this is the same city manager who was a laughing stock of the entire area because she wanted some kind of futuristic truck for a so called strike team. They were going to run around town cutting trees and whatever else during storms. What a waste. The fire department already does this and do a great job.

    These buses we have are ridiculous. You have a fire rehab bus that is more or a cripple then a use when we have a major incident on any of the many suffolk back roads or downtown. We have a police bus that is a joke. How fast will all the equipment be out dated before we get to use this. Now we have a regional communications bus. Great most of the money for these buses were bought with grant money. But it could have been better used then these pieces of equipment.

    And lets talk about made up positions that are wasting money. A guard that is a police officer but does not answer to the police department. And a chief of staff that only seems to be there to send out messages from the city manager. What we need to do is start looking at what the city council has to gain for themselves.

    Suggest Removal

  • BRussell1

    What I find “ironic” is Council gives the Manager all the credit for raising the bond rating and speaks of the excellent job she does when in fact, she does nothing. She delegates every duty ever assigned to her. Those are the smart people who deserve the raise. She has never seen a project through from the beginning to the end, on her own. Her hand is held on every project. She can’t even drive herself around town. She has a personal bodyguard/chauffer who makes tons more than a seasoned teacher. It is pathetic how brainwashed Council is. You earn a pay increase when you earn the people’s respect who are footing the bill.

    Suggest Removal

  • Donald

    WOW! Where does one start?!?

    Citizenry says NO to Raises based on a Pay Study using major metropolitan areas as comparables.

    City Council says we don’t care what you want!

    City Council makes a plan to EXCLUDE Citizenry to make a last minute, BACKDOOR plans, to do what they want while SNUBBING their noses at the desires of those who voted them into office.

    City Council Members Admit to the underhandedness of their actions and act surprised that the Citizenry is upset about their actions.

    Citizenry will return to the polls next election cycle and return these same Clowns back into office and continue to whine & Cry about their actions.

    Come on Folks, Wake Up, and start doing something. Remember these actions the next time you enter the voting both and push your button to vote. Some Time the Devil You Don’t Know is WAY Better than the One you do! I voted for none of these Clowns and cast my votes for political unknowns in order to try and clean Suffolk’s House.

    Suggest Removal

  • Norseman

    Come on people we have the council we asked for mine is Milteer I like him but he needs to go. Cuffee is not the problem, we are, until we decide what we want this will continue with no end in sight. Do we want stuff from local,state,federal coffers or do we want them to stay within the original constraints we put on them? If we want Stuff and as much as we can get the powers will always have a hook to reighn in our conservative natures. As i have said many times an honest assesment of the duties and responsibilities of our State local and Federal workers should be done and matched with the going rate in the real world. You have to include everything the employee gets to do this evaluation, a 50k salaried worker could really be costing us 100k when you add everything in. If we look back on the raises given over the years the top people have been getting much higher raises than the people that do most of the work. I give you a 3% cola but behind the scenes i give myself 15-20% because im such a great manager. As long as they are allowed to raise their own pay why not?

    Suggest Removal

  • TB_suffolklady

    None of the ones who ran against the incumbants would have made anyone happy either. Next time others need to run if that’s the case…..BTW – the City Manager makes the same money as the superintendent. That’s interesting in itself…..to the one who asked if Parr/Duman/etc. would give a 14% to their employees-good point…..

    Suggest Removal

  • jhuxster

    Here’s a question for Councilmen Parr and Duman:

    Councilmen Parr you own a funeral home are you now willing to give your employees a 21% pay raise with YOUR money? You gave the city manager a raise wtih OUR money so it seems to me if it’s prudent to spend the taxpayers’ money to give this kind of raise you should give it to your employees as well.

    Councilmen Duman–you’ve made your money on the backs of salespeople who work inordinately long hours. You require them to be at your dealership but are not required to even guarantee them minimum wage. Their paychecks are controlled by how you price your cars–and how you take out of profit on sales to maximize your profit and minimize their pay. Are you now ready to give your employees a 21% pay raise as well? If it’s prudent to use the taxpayers’ money to give this kind of raise, it should be prudent to spend your money this way as well.

    Finally Mayor Johnson–despite your grandiose depictions of Suffolk as a thriving, major metropolis it is the smallest of the cities in the area. Therefore, the pay should reflect that. Additionally, maybe you ought to take time and drive around and see how many businesses are closing in this city.

    Suggest Removal

  • chief601

    Interesting. If this person truly saved Suffolk $50 million why wouldn’t you bring it up so the taxpayers could reward her? Is she being rewarded for the stellar performance of the IT department? Oh yes, the funded study showed that was a showcase of mismanagement. But the good news is this department head apparently got to keep his job so the city didn’t have to do a job search. Oh, and the city manager went to the department and said anyone who wasn’t happy with the mismanagement could leave(according to the news story if I remember correctly). That was apparently unnecessary as the paper reported people were trying to leave already. And what is the reason this was brought so so the people had no chance to comment? Were you afraid of their response? If the city manager is unhappy maybe she could leave as she apparently to the people in the IT department.

    Suggest Removal

    • teach

      There is so much corruption going on in our downtown offices and it is all hush, hush. They have their scapegoats and fire them while they keep their jobs and get raises..I wish I could let out what are facts about it but it would do nothing but punish the innocent even more. Their needs to be something done, more money is wasted than most of us can even imagine. What a shame we can’t clear out the trash and get some honest workers in the necessary positions. I am almost ashamed of this city….

      Suggest Removal

      • teach

        *there, not their. I guess when emotions run high, you type faster than you think!

        Suggest Removal

  • happyGoLucky

    This is absurd, a 14% pay raise awarded behind closed doors in a private session while Suffolk citizens including teachers and police officers etc were awarded a 2% pay reduction thanks to our wonderful politicians in Washington. Once again this clueless council proceeds to shove this bile down the taxpayers throats in their usual clandestine way.

    This woman not only gets a huge pay increase while the citizenry is hurting but what most don’t realize is that with her unlimited leave accrual, when she does decide to find some other clueless city to plunder, the city of Suffolk could owe her thousands long after she is gone!!!

    Do the math at $480.00 + a day times a conservative estimate of 96 days of leave accrued that is 46k…what if she stays long enough to accrue 200 days and receive more pay raises then we are talking 100k or more of tax payers money payed to someone that would no longer be working for us…

    To my knowledge, NO ONE in the city gets UNLIMITED LEAVE ACCRUAL!!!!

    I’m not even counting the Car allowance…what is it $900.00 – $1,000 a month????

    Teachers and police officers are leaving as fast as they can. What good is a “near AAA” rating when the city is losing quality tax paying citizens due to the cornball policies of the city council.

    Keep it up and the name will be changed from Suffolk to tombstone or dodge city…….

    Furthermore, this rating improvement was obtained by depriving the middle class workers and teachers that make the city run compensation for their effort. For this she gets this kind of money?

    The reality is even if she deserved this money, the council exercised very poor timing as usual. There are many employees in this town that are deserving of large increases in salary but they have not received this compensation due to the economy.

    Shame on you city council..shame on you!

    Suggest Removal

  • sillysal

    I do not know if anything can be done to overturn this act of indecency, but I know we have the ability to ” recall” those on council, including the mayor, who have violated the citizen’s trust.

    Suggest Removal

    • spdrltr

      A recall election sounds like the best solution. How and when can we begin?

      Suggest Removal

  • bfhirsch34

    Wake up America, Including the City of Suffolk, Government is taking control of our lives and our wallets/pocketbooks. If we continue on our present course, we will owe every cent me make to pay our taxes and fees. If they (government) don’t think they can raise our taxes, they just make it a fee and as we are seeing all around us, tolls are being added to our roads because government can’t figure out a way to pay for road improvements. We may have had a budget surplus at the end of the year, BUT the citizens of Suffolk made that possible due to paying the fees for trash and recycling that should be part of the taxes we pay. Mr. Parr, we do not pay football players, we pay city leaders to do their jobs like the rest of us.

    Suggest Removal

  • suffolk23

    Something I want to point out. Charles Parr has used the council to have land he owns reasoned to sell if at a higher price. Linda Johnson is a realtor and list and sells it for him. Linda Johnson’s husband and Gardy are the lawyers that do the title changes and paperwork. And I am sure the city manager knows and helps all of this so they are returning the favor.

    I don’t care that the. School board and the council is separate. What I do care about is we just had a school with a shooting in it that has better security then any of the schools in suffolk. Also we have schools that have trailers that outside of them making our kids vulnerable. This is what the city manager is supposed to be looking at So you tell me what she has done that is so great.

    Suggest Removal

    • TB_suffolklady

      That’s the school systems issue. They should request more money from the state and local gov’t for those things. Not more money for their upper crust’s pockets.

      Suggest Removal

      • am

        Unfortunately, it is the “upper crust” that makes and submits the budget. Fat chance that they will request monies for the underlings and not add a large chunk for themselves.

        Suggest Removal

    • happyGoLucky

      @am I’m not sure what you mean by “upper crust”…However, if I am interpreting your post to mean that teachers etc haven’t received a raise is because the pie topping hasn’t asked for it…that’s not how it works..you should know that…

      Suggest Removal

      • am

        So if the Superintendent and School Board aren’t the ones to ask for the additional funds from CC, who would be?

        Suggest Removal

      • happyGoLucky

        @am exactly..ask…c’mon you know it isn’t that easy. Ask and ye shall not receive. The city and our illustrious council already are of the mentality that SPS is being allocated too much money already… Let’s look at the real issue and this local government is a microcosm of our liberal spend hearty federal government..spending in excess for programs that are not plausible while those that truly need the extra cash are given the Heisman!

        But I am curious why you and a few faithful others are never happy with the Superintendent for the past two or three of them as my memory serves. You had a problem with Liverman now this guy. Throw your hat in the ring if you have the credentials…if not..well….

        Suggest Removal

  • OceanaJones

    This is what the public deserves considering the electorate doesn’t do their home work when considering someone to represent them. Instead they either stay at home and don’t vote or they go with the most popular, well known selfserving candidate. Once elected, these grafting politicians know they don’t have to answer to the people they supposedly represent.

    Suggest Removal

  • suffolk23

    Does anyone know what it will take to over turn there decision Or cast a vote of no confidence in the Mayor and other councilmen to have them removed. A message needs to be sent that the people are tired of this. We were never on the brink of bankruptcy. Charles Parr basically said hey I made the decision to add this and we voted so what are you going to do about it. And they believe everyone in the city should get a cost of living raise but yet that is not happening. Last year they passed a raise for all city employees and it was supposed to be done in phases. The first was in July. Then again in January. Well the second one in January was selective and went to some but not all and when you ask why nobody. Not even HR can tell you why. But I Am sure the city manager received this and that is why this new raise was retroactive to December. So she could get that percentage on top of the 14 they gave her essentially giving her what she asked for originally. We have to wake up and we have to send a message.

    Suggest Removal

  • whitemarshtaxpayer

    Our elected leaders are baffoons .. Mike Duman says Cuffee is too expensive to replace. Too much effort would be used to find someone else.. Johnson says it is not about the person .. It is about keeping up with the other cities in HR> ..Charles Parr says it is about performance and relates it to cost of living . Gardy and Milteer knew it was coming but not sure why they voted for it evidently .. At least they dont weigh in with a reason . This group of theives including Cuffee should have a reality show as they could make a fortune from their arrogance , irresponibility and ignorance . !!!!
    We have moonshiners , swamp people , Amish mafia and could add the Peanut City Dummies !!!! Cant help but laugh at our city govt. What a podunk joke ..
    And I thought buying a luxury coach for the PD was outrageous … We the taxpayers need to stand up and send these leaders out the door ,

    Suggest Removal

  • whynot

    It’s ironic how you find money at the end of the year and give her a raise at the beginning of the year. WOW!!!!The councilmen comes out to get our votes but, you don’t come out when you’re pulling a trick on your people. If we, the people of Suffolk didn’t approved of the raise before,did you think we would approved it now? Is that why it wasn’t made public? Yeah I know it was last minute because you had time in the meeting. I have a question. Why would you build a police station on the corner of Henley Place that not BIG enough (so you say)and turn around and move businesses to build another one? Was there any planning involved in the first one? First you turn two way streets into one way streets (dumb move), then building a police precinct that’s not large enough to handle everything, and then you charge us for trash can and recycle can we didn’t want.Next time ASK the citizens of Suffolk what to do with the money since you guys don’t know. THINK ABOUT IT SERIOUSLY. We are tire of you guys and your secrets.

    Suggest Removal

    • am

      Obviously the people of Suffolk are NOT tired of this as they keep on voting these clowns back in!

      Suggest Removal

      • suffolklady

        Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

        Suggest Removal

  • am

    Anyone know the legality of this?

    Suggest Removal

    • FreeSpeech

      This is probably illegal. My opinion is supported by Councilman Milteer’s comment below:

      “Councilman Curtis Milteer, who voted for the raise, suggested he also had known the issue would come up on Wednesday.

      “It had been discussed numerous times over a period of time,” he said. “I’m not saying where it was discussed at.”

      Virginia law is clear that anytime there is a meeting, the public must be notified three working days prior. A meeting can also be a phone call, or speaking on the street, if city business is discussed. I believe that is why Councilman Milteer stated (ungrammatically) “I’m not saying where it was discussed at.”

      The public’s recourse is that the vote has to be undone, new notice given, and a revote taken. Here is a portion of the law:

      The right to attend meetings is not necessarily meaningful without proper notice of those meetings. To address this issue, Virginia law requires public bodies to give notice of their meetings at least three working days before a meeting. The notice must contain the date, time, and location of the meeting, but an agenda is not required. If a state-level public body includes at least one member appointed by the Governor, the notice must also indicate whether or not public comment will be received at the meeting and, if so, the approximate point during the meeting when public comment will be received. Va. Code § 2.2-3707(C). Public bodies must post notice in “a prominent public location at which notices are regularly posted” and in the office of the clerk or chief administrator of the public body.

      Here is the link:

      http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/open-meetings-laws-virgina

      Suggest Removal

      • 7l

        can this be referred to a state agency for investigation?

        Suggest Removal

    • FreeSpeech

      Can be referred to both Commonwealth Attorney and/or Atorney General in Richmond.

      Citizen or newspaper can request a Freedo of Information to find out where the time and date of meeting was discussed.

      Suggest Removal

      • spdrltr

        Will the VAPilot or Suffolk News Herald please initiate this process for the citizens of Suffolk and tell us how to proceed on this matter.

        Suggest Removal

  • jhuxster

    Every citizen should note–though a surprise to us it was not to the city council. In other words, it was deliberately done this way to keep the people uninformed. Once it’s done it’s almost impossible to undo it. For those of you who voted for these individuals–are you sorry yet?

    Suggest Removal

  • ANewCreation

    UNBELIEVABLE! a $22,000.00 raise in a year while many in this city are struggling to keep up with the ever increasing taxes, both fed/state and local. Please don’t ever tell me these people…any politician no matter the party…cares one iota about the taxpayer. They are greedy thiefs!

    Suggest Removal

  • cru449

    What has changed since last April when there was a public outcry about this raise. Oh yeah, this time it was done behind closed doors.

    Suggest Removal

Editor's Picks