Manager proposes 21-percent raise for herself

Published 10:32 pm Monday, April 9, 2012

A community meeting will be held Wednesday on the city’s proposed budget, which includes pay increases between 21 and 33 percent for City Council-appointed officials.

City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn proposed a 21-percent raise in her own salary in the budget she put forth to City Council.

Her salary would rise from $151,410 to $183,492 under the proposal.

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Other council appointees, though, could receive even heftier increases. City Clerk Erika Dawley would receive a 22-percent raise to $79,045 from $64,763. Assessor Jean Jackson’s income would rise from $90,000 to $110,500, an increase of 22.77 percent.

The biggest percentage increase of all would go to the council appointee who has been on the job the shortest period of time. City Attorney Helivi Holland, who has been in that position less than a month, would receive a 33.76-percent raise, from $127,000 to $169,877.

All the new pay rates would take effect Jan. 1.

The school system, on the other hand, is discussing implementing furloughs and taking a proposed 2-percent raise for all its employees off the table after finding out the city’s proposal to give it $4 million less than requested, even though the city is giving it $3 million more than last year.

In all, about two-thirds of the city’s employees would see increases in their salary thanks to a compensation study done to determine if employees were being compensated fairly.

Salaries were compared to the other six Hampton Roads cities, as well as the cities of Richmond and Alexandria and the counties of Hanover and Chesterfield. City officials say those localities were chosen because the city frequently looks to those areas to recruit for higher-level positions.

According to the study, higher-paying positions lag behind the market by about 7.8 percent. Mid-range salaries are about 6 percent behind, and lower-level positions are about 3.2 percent under the market.

According to the study, Cuffee-Glenn is paid about 38 percent below her counterparts in the other localities.

City Councilman Mike Duman said he agrees the study recommendations need to be implemented because “it does create a morale problem.”

But, he said, he had some reservations about such hefty increases for the council appointees.

“Two out of four of those folks are relatively new on their job,” he said, referring to Holland and Jackson, who began work last year. “My initial inclination is at this time it would be hard to justify anything because we don’t know how they’re going to perform at their jobs.”

As for Cuffee-Glenn and Dawley, he said, increases that large also would be hard to justify.

“But I think she is due some consideration,” he said.

Duman said he plans on discussing the increases, among other issues, at the next meeting on April 18.

“Anything that I bring forward, I like to bring forward addressing more than one issue,” he said, adding he also wants to discuss how much the school system is set to receive.

City Council voted during a January meeting to direct the city manager to implement the recommendations of the compensation study.

Wednesday’s community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Council chambers, 441 Market St.