VB Cronies Push To Hike City Manager’s Pay
A raise? Has Virginia Beach City Council gone mad?
City Manager Dave Hansen doesn’t deserve a pay hike. He deserves a pink slip.
If the knob turners on council had any guts - or brains - they would have sacked the arrogant Hansen two years ago.
In 2017, for example, Hansen said in a text message to one of his deputies that he wanted to punch the Virginia Secretary of Transportation in the nose. All because the state official refused to knuckle under to the slobbering lapdogs in Virginia Beach who wanted state money to reroute Atlantic Avenue. You know, so the city’s favorite developer, Bruce Thompson, could build a valet parking area for his new hotel.
“I am madder than a hornet,” Hansen texted on March 10, 2017. “Told will (former Mayor Will Sessoms) I don’t want to meet with Aubrey (Layne) cuz he’s going to have to put a cotton ball up his nose after I punch him.”
This man earns more than a quarter million dollars a year yet he sends messages that look like they were composed by a pimply 12-year-old trying to sound like a tough guy.
If that wasn’t bad enough, surely council members should have shaken Hansen loose when he was caught in June 2018 forwarding an email from a city council member to Thompson alerting him to a planned closed-door discussion about one of the developer’s proposed projects.
Hansen is supposed to work for the people. Not for one pet developer.
Finally, elected officials could have fired him in late May after he made another idiotic remark. This one concerned the chaotic Floatopia event: “If you act a fool they're (Virginia Beach Police) going to tag you. Is that fair? 'Cause otherwise, you've got to paint yourself a certain color so we (city police) know not to stop you. Alright?”
Not even sure what this gibberish meant, but Hansen apologized for his language a few days later.
Dave Hansen, who’s alternately bully and buffoon, continues to treat members of the public like imbeciles and developers like royalty. It’s unacceptable.
Unbelievably, his bosses - the 11 members of city council - will actually consider a pay hike for Hansen tomorrow night.
Earlier this month, the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference sent a letter to city council, claiming that the manager had created a “toxic” work environment, which they believe may have contributed to the mass shooting on May 31. They gave a litany of transgressions by the city manager - more than those I’ve listed - and concluded that “We believe the lack of leadership displayed by Mr. Hansen in this critical position requires City Council to take immediate action.”
To be clear, I don’t blame the city manager or the work environment for the shootings. The pastors are off-base to suggest this. Blame the deranged gunman. Period. Thousands of city workers are on the job every day in the same climate. Only one went crazy and murdered his co-workers in cold blood.
I spoke with Gary McCollum of the VBIMC Sunday. He said that after attending several of the “listening sessions” for Beach employees after the May 31st massacre he and others were convinced employees are “afraid to come to work, afraid to speak up.”
He said this unhealthy work atmosphere originates at the top.
“We can do better than this,” McCollum said of Hansen, adding that many of the pastors plan to attend Tuesday’s council meeting.
He’s right. We can.
I hope they’re joined by others who are fed up with the arrogance and favoritism that has oozed from the city manager’s office for years. Especially since Hansen took over in 2016.
When I spoke with Mayor Bobby Dyer on Sunday he had just returned from a meeting in Dayton. All he would say about the Hansen raise was, “This will be coming to a vote on Tuesday.”
On his Facebook page, Councilman John Moss said he would not support the pay hike and would vote to terminate Hansen if the majority of his colleagues on council agreed.
“This is a City Manager, who in my judgment, performance does not merit a raise,” Moss wrote. “The calls from residents for Mr. Hansen’s removal are growing everyday across our great community.”
It appears this raise is being pushed by a trio of old-timers on City Council. They’ll need three more votes to hike Hansen’s pay. The city manager’s contract expires in January.
If three lapdogs join the old guard, Hansen’s total compensation will balloon from $280,617 to $288,295, including his car allowance and deferred compensation package.
Time Virginia Beach found a new city manager and got its money’s worth.
Update: City Council kicked the can down the road, voting to postpone a decision on the city manager’s compensation until September 3rd. Three council members voted against the postponement: Aaron Rouse, Jessica Abbott and John Moss.