What form of government might Charlottesville choose, if citizens could start from scratch? WMRA’s Marguerite Gallorini reports on the second of two public sessions, held Sunday (Feb. 25) and sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Charlottesville Tomorrow.
One of the themes of yesterday’s discussion, much like two weeks ago, was how local law is often constrained by State law. Bill Pantele, who has served four terms on Richmond's City Council, gives an example of that.
BILL PANTELE: Our authority to actually do things is constrained financially, by law, independent cities and counties - you can be defeated on things. I never understood why Richmond couldn't have regional mass transit; but not all of the surrounding counties are for it, and there's not a doggone thing I can do about it, as an elected official.
As for Charlottesville, issues were brought up regarding the job of the City Councilors. Indeed, their training is very succinct, which means they need to rely on the City Manager’s staff to get up to speed on the many issues they have to deal with, but when the staff is already busy, that makes it difficult.
Also, Councilors are paid $14,000 a year for what is, on paper, a part-time job, when in effect it takes much more time than that. As of next July, Charlottesville City Council members will be paid $18,000 a year, the maximum amount under State law.