Posted by: brad – Jan 06, 2017
In today's "you've gotta to be f*cking kidding me" news, Dwight Jones spent his last moments as Mayor of RVA cutting out massive severance checks to some of his most loyal and incompetent employees.
As if the flip-flopping and cronyism coming from DC isn't enough right now, The Times Dispatch is reporting Mayor Jones created severance packages for four top employees, all of whom leave office with him as Levar Stoney comes in.
More from the TD:
The appointees, whose term of employment ended with the mayor’s administration, were not automatically entitled to severance payments. But Jones had the authority under city code to authorize the payments.
Jones’ press secretary, Tammy Hawley, was paid $63,000. His executive assistant, Cheryl Ivey Green, was paid $49,000. His senior policy adviser and chief of staff, Mark Kronenthal, was paid $19,000. His deputy chief of staff, Don Mark, was paid $35,000.
The total, $166K according to the TD, makes up about 10 percent of budgeted expenditures for the mayor’s office and the office of the press secretary.
As someone who has covered the Mayor's office on and off for the last few years, Hawley does not deserve $63K for the work she's done with the media; maybe she deserves it for the work she's done keeping Jones OUT of the media - if that's the case, then yea, she deserves even more for the level of secrecy she managed to maintain.
Then there's the nearly $50K Jones is throwing at Cheryl Ivey Green, his executive assistant who also act as "executive minister of ministries" at First Baptist Church, where Jones works as a Pastor. Jones has already faced scrutiny for looking out for his church/second job ahead of the rest of the city, so this shouldn't come as a surprise.
And this isn't the first time Jones has tried to dip into city coffers to pay off folks at the end of his term. He tried to dole out almost $2 million to city employees in December as an "end of term thank you."
According to the TD, he planned to give every full-time city employee $500, and every party-timer $250.
In the most side-eye-inducing response to this move, outgoing Councilman Jonathan T. Baliles pulled no punches saying:
“The right thing to do would be to call a special meeting and do this the way state law requires it... But I don’t think anybody expects the current mayor to do the right thing.”
Maybe Jones should budget out some aloe-cream cause he's gonna need to treat that burn.
It's important to remember the city, last year, faced a $5.8 million budget shortfall - so this money doesn't exist. Or as Councilman Chris Hilbert told the TD, “While I’d love to point to somebody and have them be able to reach into their pocket and produce the money, I’m not sure that’s realistic.”
This whole deal is smellier than an Oregon Hill house show, and there doesn't seem to be much we can do now - though it appears the $1.9 mill got scrapped.
Here's to a new year, a new mayor, and hopefully a cleaner City Hall.
Words by BK