Mayor's signs stir controversy at Richmond City Hall

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Are they a waste of money or a public service? That's the debate brewing at Richmond City Hall over these new signs posted at road improvement projects around the city.

Two of the signs mark sidewalk improvements on Broad Street. They include the mayor's name, along with his Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall. They tout his slogan, "Building a Better Richmond" and the tag line, "your tax dollars hard at work."

Councilman Bruce Tyler says, "It's unfortunate the mayor's made a decision to put his name up for doing routine maintenance work. I think it's just unacceptable."

Tyler calls it a waste of taxpayer money. So does council woman Reva Trammell. She says, "Let your work speak for itself. We don't need these signs."

Tyler even introduced an ordinance to prohibit the city council and mayor from putting their name on signs that highlight routine road improvement projects. "I want this ordinance in place so that we don't have this Mickey mouse stuff going on in the city."

Each one of these signs cost $150 to make. The city made 25 of them, and has plans for 15 more that are generic and can be reused.

By reusing the signs, the mayor's press secretary, Tammy Hawley says, "You break it out it's about $15 per sign.... A lot of times what you see reported in media is that has not been done, or what problem may persist, you don't often get a lot of news articles about what's being accomplished, what's been completed, what progress has been made. So, it's our way of insuring that folks know exactly what's going on in their city."

These types of signs are not new to the city. In fact, they were used during the wilder administration with his city of the future slogan. And on the bottom of each sign were the names of all the council members, including Bruce Tyler.

By phone this afternoon, Tyler said he didn't know his name was used on signs by Doug Wilder. He says,  "those old signs were for major capital improvements and these new signs are for routine maintenance. Which is what I have a problem with."

The ordinance was introduced last Monday. It will head to committee for review, before coming to the full council, possibly, next in November.

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