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Front Royal council OKs worker bonuses

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- A last-ditch effort by an outgoing town councilman to give Front Royal staff a better raise failed Monday.

But another councilman stepped in with an offer to help town employees by doubling the one-time bonus proposed in the next fiscal budget.

Front Royal Town Council at its meeting approved the ordinance appropriating the funds as delinated in the fiscal 2013 budget proposed by Town Manager Steven Burke.

Members approved an amendment to the ordinance proposed by Councilman N. Shae Parker which called for $60,200 moved from the balances of various funds and put into a reserve contingency for use in the near future to fund a master officer and senior dispatcher program in the police department.

Parker's amendment spurred some discussion about the funds proposed for the two programs. Parker noted $400 would come from a fund used to buy shirts for council members. The amendment passed 4-2, with Councilman Hollis L. Tharpe and Vice Mayor Chris W. Holloway voted against it.

"Surely, you aren't going to vote against this because of $200 shirts for the council," Conkey said.

Conkey offered an amendment to the ordinance proposing the town raise the salary increase for employees from 1 percent to 2 percent. Conkey noted the 1 percent increase for workers would be absorbed by the mandated contribution to the Virginia Retirement System. A 1 percent raise would cost the town about $140,000 and Conkey suggested council take from the fund balance $295,000 to cover double the increase in salary.

Councilman Thomas Sayre agreed that workers deserved compensation but expressed concern over increasing the salaries or one-time bonuses without having first vetted Conkey's suggestions in the months before the scheduled vote. Council spent several months discussing the proposed budget through various work sessions and held the public hearing on the fiscal plan earlier this month.

Conkey noted that he only just thought of the idea to try and boost the proposed salary increase.

Parker, seeing that Conkey's amendment might not pass, made his own offer -- to double the one-time bonuses in the budget for full-time and part-time workers from $500 and $250 to $1,000 and $500 respectively. Conkey's proposed amendment failed 3-3, with Sayre, Tharpe and Councilman Carson C. Lauder Jr. voting against the measure.

The vote came after Sayre accused Conkey of trying to "grab headlines" with his last-minute effort to get raises for employees. Conkey refuted the accusation, noting that he has limited time left in his term on council. Conkey did not run for re-election this year. His term ends June 30.

The budget included no increase in the real estate or personal property tax for the town.

Mayor Timothy Darr did not attend the meeting.


Well well let's look at the Councilmen that voted for buying a new Town hall and land but will not support giving our employees any meaningful raises, Lauder, Tharpe, and Sayre. One is already on his way out and if the other 2 continue , it won't be long before they will be gone. I did feel sorry for mr Tharpe because he did not get the support for his Council shirts. Maybe we should take up a collection to help him out. Send all donations to Town Hall marked Help Put A Shirt On Hollis's Back Fund.


Tharpe's club shirts for The Good Old Boys were a dead deal ... and everything was going great... until poor Sayre opened his big mouth to needlessly and gratuitously attack another councilor. Well, Sayre, I wrote the following headline just for you:

Some people cause happiness wherever they go.... Sayre will cause happiness whenever he goes.


We (the taxpayers) are buying shirts for Council members? Why?

Hey, NVD, you might want to get your facts right!! Mr. Conkey did not fail to win re-election, he did not seek another term.

The more I think about this , the more upset I get about Hollis' situation . At this time I think that the ex and current employees can help Hollis out of his dilemma by sending any old but clean Town shirts to the Help Put A Shirt On Hollis's Back Fund. Either send the shirts to Town Hall or to the Warren County Report. I am sure either way that the shirts will get to Hollis in this very upsetting time in Hollis's life. Please do not let the fact that he voted against your raise. We must be able to look past this for the greater good of taking care of Hollis's needs. Send today and don't delay. I am sure that everyone has at lease one Town shirt in the closet to help out.

Ok...I am simple minded...did anyone end up with a raise and what bonus (if any) got passed? Can someone just give me a summary? Sorry....

Bonuses? For what? Have not seen any improvement in services or attitudes. The bureaucrats still treat residents with disdain. Seems like our elected officials have adopted the fiscal perspective of Washington, DC. Isn't this the same council which so botched the termination of beloved Mike Graham that they cost the treasury $200,000? Perhaps each and every one of them should be retired - without severance and pensions. If they MUST enrich themselves at least have the decency to wait until the economy improves and private sector businesses recover.

Has anyone ever accused Tharpe or Sayre of thinking? Right, I didn't think so. When two half-wits are present on the dais it's just like having one less brain in the room. Speaking of one less brain in the room....

A little birdie told me there is talk saying 'realdeal's' initials are Blue Ribbon Committee mouthpiece Matt Tederick. Oopps, did I just say that out loud? Well, it kinda makes sense.... both Hrbek and Tederick claim to be financial experts...ergo, a certain professional rivalry is expected and that explains 'realdeal' always attacking Hrbek whether he deserves it or not.

Speaking of half wits in the room, where has Tederick been lately? Some say he is involved with shining shoes in the judge's cloakroom.

People need to focus. The shirts are the most important issue. The Warren BOS's have them. To keep up the Council must have customized shirts too. Otherwise, envy will continue to hamper any future liason meetings. If everybody wears matching outfits maybe something positive can finally come out of those meetings.

Sounds like School Uniforms. Great idea!

Thanks for being a smart aleck aaspo..I just asked a question. Maybe I know a town worker who hasn't had a raise in years...and just wanted an answer. You people seem to have your own agenda...I'll ask elsewhere.

We hope we have real solid information that Mr. Hrbek is being investigated. This could also be simply rumor in view of the fact he did win and the losers have difficulty accepting it. Politics can be VERY UGLY!!!

Was there this much hoopla over the purchase of shirts for the BOS? Why does everything have to be an issue with this council? Reality: $200 equals 0.000628% of the budget. Reality: Drama is usually more commonplace between 12 year old girls at the middle school than between adults sitting in a professional capacity. Gentlemen, get it together for the sake of the people you serve!!!

To frororesident you are on the mark. The only reason I bring these issues up is to expose this 12 years old behavior of our elected officials. MR Tharpe acted like a 12 years old when money was shifted from shirts to support the master police funding. Mr. Tharpe then proceeded to vote no on almost everything else because he was mad. Then Mr Sayre tried his best to justify his reasons for his continous string of not voting for the Town budget. Watch the video for yourself, it was surprising to watch and leaves a citizen wondering about some of these elected officials and their professional capacity.

AASPO was not answering Rustysgal's post. All workers - whether private or public sector - should be grateful for having a job and not push the envelope. No one has a secret agenda - only the desire that the Town function in a reasonable and business-like way and to guard against waste, fraud and abuse. Please be careful with words you choose for your posts - "you people" has pejorative racial overtones.

That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Give "me" a break...is that okay to say? All y'all (as in a group) are talking about is shirts etc. What a waste of time trying to communicate with people...

I cannot believe these people are in office for the people. Some of the people they represent also work for the town. They have the power to control the well being of families, i.e., electric, food, housing, clothing, and insurance, just to mention a few. They are letting agendas and vendettas govern the town. They should be ashamed of themselves. Do they not see the bigger picture of what they were elected to do? Are these positions merely a status symbol to them? How do you think they would react if someone was negatively affecting their family’s lively hood? What if everyone suddenly stopped buying ice cream? I think shirts would be the least of one councilman’s worries.

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