December 4, 2022

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Lea, White-Boyd question fellow council member’s words, spending | Govt and Politics

Soon after Roanoke Councilwoman Stephanie Moon Reynolds objected to Mayor Sherman Lea’s receiving $2,500 a year as a own vehicle-use stipend, Lea and Vice Mayor Trish White-Boyd have criticized Moon Reynolds for her paying out on enterprise meals, travel and coaching and progress.

Moon expended far more community funds on formal duties in crucial discretionary groups this fiscal year than other council users and the mayor put together — $5,747.48 — a figure Lea known as “concerning” in light of her publicly tough him about a dollars request previously this thirty day period.

White-Boyd stated she imagined it was questionable that Moon Reynolds “was conversing about not burdening the taxpayer with the $2,500” though she herself invested twice that.

“You say 1 matter but you do a little something else,” White-Boyd said of Moon Reynolds.

When requested about the criticism of her, Moon Reynolds explained to The Roanoke Times she attended a number of conferences and occasions for networking and education – standard expenditures for a council member.

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“I have not performed something that other council members have not accomplished in the past,” claimed Moon Reynolds, who was metropolis clerk for 13 many years right before winning a council seat.

One motive Moon Reynolds’s paying stands out this year is that other council members slice back these pursuits this yr, in maintaining with a pattern that coincided with the pandemic. At this stage in this fiscal calendar year, with six months remaining, full small business foods, vacation and instruction and growth paying common out to $1,077 for just about every council member.

None of Moon Reynold’s coaching, journey and function attendance departs from policy, according to a preliminary evaluation by Municipal Auditor Drew Harmon, whose business will audit council paying out right after June 30.

Claimed Town Clerk Susie McCoy: “She [Moon Reynolds] did not do everything completely wrong.”

As an instance, a Roanoke Times evaluate of remaining, audited figures from the city for fiscal several years 2017 and 2018 (pre-pandemic a long time) showed average expending for every council member of $4,614 and $3,088, respectively. Roanoke’s mayor, who is the ceremonial head of the metropolis, has extra engagements, usually, centered on the occupation. And Lea’s paying in 2017 and 2018 was $7,279 and $6,022.

The dispute commenced a number of weeks in the past.

The agenda issued in advance of a May perhaps 9 council meeting bundled a provision to per year dietary supplement the spend of all 6 council users and the mayor by $2,500 as compensation to privately have or lease a motor vehicle used for town company. The proposal underwent revision by the time of the meeting and only $2,500 for Lea remained.

Moon Reynolds announced that she would vote versus a draft yearly spend system simply because it bundled the $2,500 item “in fairness to citizens who are nonetheless struggling from” the pandemic and larger real estate and particular assets taxes or stormwater runoff service fees some people today owe this year. She also maintains that insufficient community discussion happened about the item in advance of it was time to vote.

Lea and Moon Reynolds briefly bickered and she walked out of the meeting for about two minutes. A council the greater part authorised the plan with the mayor’s complement.

McCoy’s office, in reaction to an open up data ask for from the Roanoke Periods, unveiled what each and every council member and the mayor expended this fiscal calendar year on company meals, vacation and teaching and advancement. The info showed Moon Reynolds as the top rated spender in those people categories.

“It’s concerning the amount of money that that is, when she helps make an challenge of my spending and, I’m stating, when I search at her expending and where it was, that is way substantially more than I spent,” stated Lea, who so far used $1,527, in a Roanoke Moments job interview. “That’s hypocritical.”

Lea also termed out Moon Reynolds for objecting all through the remaining series of votes on budgets drafted in excess of many months. Had she brought it up earlier, “we could have labored that out,” he said.

Lea also pointed out that the councilwoman, a previous city clerk who was elected to a council seat powerful in January 2021, was generating an challenge of $2,500 merchandise within just a $325 million funds.

Moon Reynolds employed the situation of being questioned to reply to criticism of her paying degree to distinction herself and the mayor.

Moon Reynolds said she fulfilled Lea at Billy’s Roanoke, a downtown restaurant on April 22 at his ask for to talk about problems this sort of as gun violence and the college method and paid out for her meal.

“I’m becoming paid to do that by way of the $23,000 [annual compensation] that I acquire. I don’t have to nickel and dime the town,” she explained.

Moon Reynolds mentioned that metropolis information replicate that the mayor billed $30.49 in connection with the outing to the town, information display.

“We’ll nonetheless go on working jointly,” stated Moon Reynolds, who sits beside the mayor at meetings.

“You can get the job done together,” Lea said when asked exactly where he stands, “but it will take away the belief element.”