Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this article to tell about the feathers flying during the around the horn session. Buddy Rawley called Mayor Sherman Saunders out for blowing past him on the floor discussion on the city retiree’s issue.
6:15 PM – Tonight, City Council hopefully comes to an agreement on bonuses for city retirees, and we’ll talk about the inevitable electric rate increase.
7:00 PM – We’re underway. Gary Miller is absent tonight. We start with a proclamation for “National Ride to Work Day”. Virginia Organizing is here to start the “Ban the Box” initiative about not asking about criminal convictions of City job applications.
7:15 PM – More speakers about the “Ban the Box” campaign. It’s not a bad idea and it has support from Lee Vogler (and probably other councilmembers).
7:20 PM – I spoke to Council about a disclosure issue. Next, the owner of C&D Family Pawn speaks asking that rent-to-own companies be made to mark their rental property, as it comes to pawn shops. The owner is losing $200 to $1000 per month on losses because the police pick up the merchandise and return it, leaving the pawn shop out of money.
7:25 PM – City resident talking about problems with a group home in their neighborhood. Multiple police calls and arrests. This is on Randolph St. With Joshua Family Home Services.
7:30 PM – On to regular business, and retiree raises and/or bonuses. Fred Shanks moves to have this bonus plan only affect current employees and retirees, not to any new employees hired after July 1st. Buddy Rawley renews his objections to any action on this.
7:40 PM – Buddy Rawley : “We’re voting with our hearts and not with our minds.” We heart Lee Vogler.
7:45 PM – The motion passes after Sherman Saunders blows past Buddy Rawley. He’s the only one to vote no and is not happy. We move to the first reading and public hearing on the electric rate increase. Alonzo Jones appears to be quite bored with Joe King’s analysis recap.
7:50 PM – I speak about the net rate decrease to commercial customers. President of US Green Energy wants peak/off-peak pricing. His company’s electric bill is $400?!?! US Green Energy is one of our Job Bust honorees. My mind is boggling. This company is supposed to be making solar panels. Maybe they should use solar energy. Oh wait, they haven’t made a damn thing.
8:00 PM – Adam Tomer explains it all by saying something like “We’re 9 million in the hole and we gotta pay it back”. Pretty right on target.
8:05 PM – It looks like all opposition to the electric rate increase has evaporated due to no other alternatives.
8:10 PM – All the big stuff is done, with apologies to Fred Shanks and his stormwater concerns. Around the horn time. We’ll wrap this article up when I get home.
8:15 PM – Hoo Boy. Remember when I said that Mayor Sherman Saunders blew past Buddy Rawley during the floor discussion on the retiree motion? Well, Buddy Rawley just called Sherman Saunders out directly for doing this. Hell yes! Rawley said “When my hand is up, I expect to be heard”. Saunders got a little perturbed for being called out like that and he told Rawley that his decision was correct because he was the chairman of the meeting. Rawley finished up his comment time by re-making his point and he’s straight on target for that. It got better when Fred Shanks backed Buddy Rawley’s position.
Sherman Saunders has a very bad habit of trying to limit floor debate and comments and it’s about time that he got called out on that. This is going be developing, I’m sure”