A Virginia Senate committee has killed a bill by Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville, to remove salary limits on city councils statewide.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Local Government had a tie vote on the bill, HB 1108, effectively killing it.
Hudson hoped it would be brought up in this week’s committee meeting, but it was not.
“It’s frustrating that the bill stalled in the Senate due to absent committee members,” Hudson said. “It’s yet another good example of why we need a longer legislative session to conduct the business of the commonwealth. As is, we’ll have to wait another year to move this measure which had plenty of support from both lawmakers and leading advocacy groups like the Virginia Municipal League.”
Hudson’s bill passed the House of Delegates 59-38.
State code sets salary limits for members of city councils based on population, ranging from $11,000 to $30,000.
Salaries for county boards of supervisors also are bound by population, with pay for supervisors statewide ranging from $4,000 to $15,000. For Charlottesville, the maximum pay is $18,000 for councilors and $20,000 for the mayor.
Elected city school boards are governed by the same guidelines.
Hudson’s bill sought to allow city councils to determine their own salary and, indirectly, allow city school boards to do the same.
Proponents of higher salaries have said that it would remove economic barriers from running for public office. Opponents say that government service is a part-time volunteer position and have cautioned against open-ended salary guidelines.
Hudson also introduced a revised Charlottesville charter that says that councilor salaries will be set in accordance with state code, referring to the section that would have been changed under the bill.
The charter revisions have passed both chambers.