City Council and Mayor Salaries in Virginia

Tonight the Charlottesville City Council will take up compensation for members of its own body.  The prepared memo (PDF, p. 92) on this topic comes from City Attorney Craig Brown.  While the memo includes information on the relevant state code, it does not offer any sort of context for council salaries, including salaries from similar jurisdictions in the Commonwealth.  To that, we compiled a spreadsheet of city council pay from across Virginia’s largest cities (embedded below).  A few interesting things we learned (and if you can correct us on any of these or the data, please do).

  • Council pay in most cities is capped at the Commonwealth level based on Virginia code.  This relates only to cities with a council-manager form of city government.
  • Given the hours most council members put forth, the salary is really more akin to a stipend, i.e. it’s not much.
  • Some cities, notably Alexandria, are exempt from this cap based on city charter.
  • Some cities, make this information incredibly difficult to find and so sourcing this data is not ideal.  Please add comments to the document to note errors.
  • In Charlottesville, the city does not appear to indicate the person who initiated the request for information from staff.  Was it Mr. Brown or Mr. Jones, the entire council, a specific council member?  If so, why?  It seems like there are many good reasons to put this up, why not give that context by default?  (At the meeting Ms. Galvin noted that Mr. Fenwick asked that it be added to the agenda).

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