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SERWAN ZANGANA: Cobb Refrains From City Council Vote on Pay Increase But Shares Dishonest Intentions

The Roanoke City Council has always reminded me of most of the Iraqi officials regarding their work ethics, obligation of duty, and the promises to the voters. What a coincidence for me to know about both members of Roanoke City Council and the elected officials in Iraqi Kurdistan!

Obviously, the City Council members and Mayor Sherman Lea are believing in the term “ I do what I want to do because I am in power” as the majority members approved over 90% pay raise for themselves. Apparently, the Council members are executing their agenda and approving policies behind closed doors. The question is: What does it take for Roanoke citizens to stop this dishonesty, and how much is enough?

Council member Peter Volosin has revealed the members’ intention as he said, “We’ve used almost 20+ million dollars of city funds to make sure our employees are paid fairly. I think that it just goes that we should be able to get paid fairly as well.”

Clearly, fairness has a different definition in their book. Roanoke City Council members define the “fairness” relative to their best interest, while praising each other for work they say they have accomplished. What work?

So they give themselves a huge pay increase, and leave Roanoke behind.

Approving this proposal just adds more of a reputation for dishonesty to the list of Roanoke City Council members. At least Stephanie Moon Reynolds and Bev Fitzpatrick voted against the proposal, but it did not have much impact on the Council’s decision.

Apparently, the Council members were very generous to increase their own salary and approve such a proposal immediately. But in fact they were not so generous when they changed the budget formula for Roanoke City Schools, which creates difficulty for schools to obtain funds every year.

Roanoke Council members have never been so diligent to accomplish a work and approve a proposal as they did with their salary increase. This proposal had to be approved four months prior to the election which is November 5. Council members did not delay in voting.

As the November election is approaching and Roanoke City Vice Mayor Joe Cobb is running for the City Mayor’s seat, his disingenuous and political maneuver was not surprising as he was absent from the vote. Evidently, Cobb recused himself from the meeting to show Roanoke Citizens that he was not a part of the vote. Since he is targeting the Mayoral seat in November, he needs to appear clean to the voters.

This is an obvious political game that Cobb is playing and unfortunately some Roanoke citizens are unable to see the hidden intention behind it. This illogical pay increase should be an alert and a lesson for Roanoke City citizens to realize the Council members purpose in controlling the City.

Regardless of Joe Cobb not being present with the Council members to vote on the proposal of the immense pay increase, he is definitely not innocent from approving this bill. The only difference is his willingness to hide – but had the same intention as the rest of the members who voted on such a proposal.

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.


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