City Councilman Charles Samuels is fighting back after a claim made by his opponent, Charlie Diradour during the Fan District Association Debate on Wednesday.
“The top brass, the Chief and Deputy Chiefs all got pay raises, 5% pay raises, and yet the rank and file police officers did not, that's unfair,” he said. “That was in the budget, was it not? Did you not see that in the budget?"
Diardour’s comment can be found at 5:35 of Part 2 of our coverage of the Fan District Association 2nd District City Council debate.
Samuels said he did not see it in the budget and today reiterated that point. He believes that Diradour got his facts wrong.
“He was wrong on the numbers,” he said. “(He was) wrong to suggest he saw this in the budget, and was wrong to spread incorrect information without fact-checking that could impact police morale.”
Diradour admits he does not have a specific budget line to point to that would back up his claim, but he believes that top administration officials were given raises the rank and file were not.
“I’ve been told by several sources that the director of Human Resources, Antoinette Archer received a 5% pay raise last year,” Diradour said, “But why are we talking about who did get pay raises instead of who didn’t get pay raises?”
According to Ms. Archer's LinkedIn page, she is no longer employed by the City of Richmond Police Department.
Diradour believes Samuels has not done enough to stand up for the rank and file officer, who have not received raises in several years.
“A City Councilman should be more concerned about the men and women who are on the line everyday who are protecting us,” he said.
However, the Police Chief himself, Bryan T. Norwood told NBC12 that Diardour’s claim is off the mark.
“What the candidate said about Richmond police department salaries is not true,” Norwood said flatly.
Police Department officials could not speak specifically to Diardour’s claim about Ms. Archer’s salary, but stood firm in their claim that there was no broad hike in management salaries.
Diardour maintains that his point remains the same. He believes rank and file officers and firefighters deserve to be compensated better.
Samuels believes his opponent needs to be a bit more careful when he makes claims without the specifics to back them up.
“I believe he was so desirous to score a cheap political point that Mr. Diradour did not verify his information about police salaries,” He said. “Would-be public officials need to be as diligent as possible, especially when talking about responsible city spending and public safety.”
Samuels and Diradour are both on the ballot in the November election.