RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – People in the top positions at Richmond City Hall are making more money under the Mayor Dwight Jones administration. In fact, in some positions, salaries are significantly higher than what former Mayor Doug Wilder paid people.
A Richmond city council member started raising questions about the pay of top leaders this summer. So we compiled the numbers and found that in the two years since Mayor Jones took office, salaries among the city's top brass have gone up -- in all 21 percent.
At the top of City Hall - the pay for the top city leaders has gone up significantly in the last two years. We started with the Mayor's office. The salaries and benefits of the 9 employees, including Mayor Dwight Jones totals just under a million dollars.
Two years ago, under Doug Wilder 9 employees made just under $900,000. Jones has boosted the pay in his office by 10 percent.
When you combine those salaries and benefits with the employees working in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, salaries have gone up 21-percent from the Wilder to the Jones administrations.
"The salaries in those two departments are 20 percent higher than what they were when Mayor Wilder walked out the door," said Richmond City Council member Bruce Tyler.
Council member Tyler first started raising questions about the salaries of department heads in June.
"We seem to be extremely top heavy. And the dollars are reflecting that and I have concern about hiring folks at these inflated salaries at this time," he said.
We took the numbers to University of Richmond Politics Professor and Political Analyst Tom Shields.
"I think it's someone trying to make a little political hay out of not a lot there," said Shields.
Shields says Jones has no choice but to offer higher salaries to keep up with pay in the surrounding counties.
"Virgil Hazelett in Henrico County makes $290,000. There's no one in the city of Richmond that makes $290,000," Shields said. "Salaries need to be raised if you want the good people in those positions.
The mayor's press secretary also weighed in today saying, quote: "putting together a talented team takes an investment. We must be competitive with our surrounding counties and be able to attract the necessary talent to Richmond to move us toward becoming a tier one city."