VB City Council meeting draws attention over pay raise for the city manager

Dave Hansen, Virginia Beach City Manager (Judah Taylor/Southside Daily)
Dave Hansen, Virginia Beach City Manager (Judah Taylor/Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Tuesday night’s hot-topic City Council agenda attracted thousands of online viewers — about 7,300 on Facebook — and attendees who’ve never been to a meeting before, said Tim Worst, a regular City Council meeting attendee and speaker.

Topics, like banning e-scooters on the Oceanfront and relocating the Central Absentee Voter Precinct out of the municipal center, drew several concerned speakers who said they had a stake in council’s decision.

RELATED STORY: Here’s the deal: E-scooters banned from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

The main event, however, came a little later when the council would decide to defer the vote to Sep. 3 on whether council appointees, including City Manager Dave Hansen, would get a 3 percent raise per the city’s code.

“I’ve known about this for a month or more,” Worst told council members. “If we’ve known, why can’t you guys make a decision?”

The ordinance that would’ve granted Hansen more than $7,000 raise toward his current $263,611.40 annual base salary — without $12,000 annual car allowance and $12,684 compensation plan — garnered nine speakers who all asked City Council to deny the raise for the city manager.

Residents spoke on rejecting the raise for reasons like saving money or to focus on maintaining and repairing infrastructure — a responsibility of the city manager.

Other’s like Reid Greenmun echoed a recent call for Hansen’s termination from the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Minister’s Conference and went on to reference a 2017 incident where text messages revealed Hansen threatened to punch Aubrey Layne, then Virginia’s transportation secretary, in the nose.

“In my job, if I had done the things Mr. Hansen had done I would be terminated,” Greenmun said.

RELATED STORY: If you ask this organization, City Manager Dave Hansen should be fired ‘swiftly and immediately’

After hearing the speakers, City Council voted 8-3 five separate times with a motion from Councilman Louis Jones deferring the conversation around pay raises for the City Attorney Mark Stiles, City Clerk Amanda Barnes, City Real Estate Assessor Ronald Agnor, City Auditor Lyndon Remias, and Hansen to Sep. 3.

“I think it’s important to note we haven’t vetted this issue sufficiently as a council on the salaries that we have here,” Jones said. “The only discussion we’ve had was the city manager’s salary and it just seems to me like it’s premature for us to act on item five tonight.”

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Lucretia Cunningham is a multimedia journalist at Southside Daily covering hyper-local stories in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Her stories focus on public safety, tourism, and city government. She is a Virginia transplant and military spouse originally from Chicago. Lucretia also served on active duty from 2006 to 2016 and started her journalism career as a broadcaster in the Virginia Air National Guard. When she’s not covering stories on the Southside, she’s covering stories with her Air National Guard unit.