Criticizing the current Board of Supervisors for increasing their own salaries, Sheffield’s literature, in bold headline trumpets:
“As your Supervisor, I’ll make sure no politician gets a pay raise while schools are forced to make cuts.”
Before sending the piece, Sheffield should have conferred with Palmer—who’s seeking Albemarle’s Samuel Miller District seat—on the topic of pay increases for supervisors.
On multiple occasions, Palmer forcefully has advocated increased pay for the board position she now seeks, and for the board position she now holds (Albemarle County Service Authority):
On March 9, 2005 Liz Palmer “addressed the Board [of Supervisors], noting that Board members spend an increasing amount of time on budgetary and other county matters. She encouraged the Board to give themselves a small raise. She added that she would like to have some money spent to heat Lane Auditorium in the wintertime” (Minutes of March 9, 2005 Board meeting, page 6) [emphasis added]
On May 4, 2005, representing the League of Women Voters, Liz Palmer urged the Board to consider a set of recommendations to improve the governance of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, one of which was that “all those on the RWSA Board” – which would include the City manager, the County administrator, the City director of public works, the director of the Albemarle County Service Authority, the senior County engineer, and two elected officials – “should receive adequate compensation over and above income from other positions held” (Minutes of May 4, 2005 Board meeting, page 25) [emphasis added]
On February 7, 2007 Liz Palmer “emphasized” that “Supervisor compensation . . . needs to be enough to reflect the hours that the Board members spend researching and studying the impacts of their decisions on the community. Only the well heeled can run for office. She added that middle-income individuals would be unable to run for office, and presented a list of supervisors’ salaries from other counties, noting that Albemarle is behind. Ms. Palmer also suggested that the increase be effective at the end of their terms” (Minutes of February 7, 2007 Board meeting, page 2) [emphasis added]
On October 8, 2008 she told the Board “that their jobs are very important and the County is lucky to have them, but she is concerned about the pool of applicants that might replace them. She said that the salaries have not kept up with the changing times, as the present salary is $14,542 annually – which makes it impossible for less affluent members of the community to take the job. Ms. Palmer requested that the Board write a description of their duties and give a range of hours that are expected for them to work, and establish a reasonable salary effective for the next term, then post this information on the department website. She also added that she has “no intention of running” (Minutes of October 8, 2008 Board meeting, pages 5-6) [emphasis added]
Samuel Miller voters should think twice before supporting a “politician” who runs for a seat after having advocated repeatedly for higher pay for that very same seat. Liz Palmer has done so; although, until now, she’s kept hidden her conflicted financial interests.
Sheffield, who is campaigning on a “more honest approach,” may not be telling the whole truth, either. A Perriello-esque reading of his words—“As your Supervisor, I’ll make sure no politician gets a pay raise while schools are forced to make cuts”— indicates that Sheffield may well embrace salary increases for Supervisors, as long as the schools get more money.
N.B. to Rio District and Samuel Miller District voters: Beware duplicitous Democrats wrapped in benign political slogans. You may get more—or less—than you bargained for.