Council wants to cut mayor’s $400,000 security detail

Posted at 12:38 AM, May 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-08 11:25:21-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Monday night during tough budget talks, Richmond City Council members decided to cut from the budget "wish list" of Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones.

"I know the taxpayers don't know about this, I know they don't, that is a lot of money," said City Councilwoman Reva Trammell, talking about a sum of $400,000.

That's the amount Mayor Jones wants in the city's budget for his own security detail. The detail would include three full-time police officers and the use of two designated city vehicles.

"$400,000 from the police department, from their budget?" questioned Trammell.

Trammell suggested cutting some of the mayor's request, in the eleventh hour of budget talks Monday as council members crunched numbers looking for ways to tighten it.

She asked to cut a $100,000 of it, to be exact. Four of her colleagues signed on; Chris Hilbert, Jon Baliles, Parker Agelasto and Council President Charles Samuels all voted to reduce it.

CBS 6 researched mayoral detail and protection in the state of Virginia. Many localities simply don't have it at all.

The city of Portsmouth, which is a bit smaller than Richmond, offers no detail for the mayor and no city vehicle.

One city spending in the same ballpark on a mayoral protection as Richmond was Baltimore, Maryland. Reports from last year show their bill was $430,000 but that was for seven officers, and Baltimore is three times larger in population than Richmond.

Monday night's vote wasn't the last on the budget. There will be revisions but Trammell says not from her-- not on this.

"I know it's not okay with me and four other council members because we're looking at things that got cut last night," said Trammell.