Council members react to Jewell comments

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Tempers are flaring at Richmond City Hall over Marty Jewell's shocking allegations and call for Council President Kathy Graziano to resign. Tonight council members are speaking out about Jewell's remarks.

It was certainly the talk of City Hall this evening. Several council members defended Kathy Graziano and angrily blasted Marty Jewell's allegations. And everyone we spoke with called the whole incident a distraction at the very worst time.

Quiet and calm once they got started, but it was explosive in the hall's city government Friday.

"These outrageous allegations are just beyond the pale," said Richmond City Council Member Chris Hilbert.

"It's a 657-million dollar budget that we're working with. And certain members are asking us to take time out of that to deal with complete nonsense," said Councilman Chris Samuels.

They're reacting to Councilman Marty Jewell who questioned Kathy Graziano's introduction of pay raises for Commonwealth Attorney Michael Herring's office, the same week her top aide cut a deal with that office to have sexual harassment related charges dropped.

"There's some dog in that cat," said Jewell.

Those words and his call for Kathy to step aside drew an angry reaction from the top prosecutor.

"I think it's unwarranted. I think it's ridiculous," Herring said.

Herring says he's been asking for these raises for two years.

"It's been amazing to me the number of people who have walked up and said, that they didn't like the way this sounded or looked," said Councilman Bruce Tyler.

Although, Tyler believes another member of council should have introduced the amendment for pay raises, he doesn't like how the entire debate has played out.

"We're elected to make the city a better place not to squabble with each other," he said.

Hilbert calls the whole situation an embarrassment.

"I believe that Mr. Jewell's reactions have taken us back dramatically. The people that have thrown stones at this city for years, they're throwing them again," said Hilbert.

The council spent the last several hours trying to finalize its changes to the budget. We should get our first complete picture of what will look like Monday night. City council plans to vote on the 657-million dollar budget Monday, May 23rd.

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