August was full of action between civic league meetings (most still meeting online), council meetings, meeting with constituents and attending (safely) events in the community.
I am pleased to share that Norfolk City Council voted last week to provide additional funding and pay for public safety (Police, Fire/Rescue, Sheriff) in Norfolk. The following will significantly help with our current recruitment and retention challenges in our public safety ranks.
- Provide current active hires a one-time, up front bonus in exchange for a 5 year commitment to the Norfolk Police Department. Bonuses can range from $5,000 – $12,000
- Increase in starting pay for Recruit and Deputy Sheriff positions
- Launch a tuition assistance program for all city employees beginning spring 2022
- City-wide leave buyback program to allow employees to get paid for underutilized vacation time due to COVID
- Improve the public safety fleet by buying vehicles and equipment on a useful life replacement cycle for police cruisers, medics and Fire-Rescue heavy equipment
- Marketing campaign for hard to fill public safety positions
I had the opportunity to meet two new leaders in our community in recent weeks. Vice Mayor Martin Thomas and I met with Stephen Edwards who is the new CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority. We also met with Brian Hemphill, Ph. D., President, Old Dominion University. As new leaders come to our region I make a point of reaching out early on to introduce myself and discuss areas of need/concern/interest as it relates to Norfolk and Ward 2. I had a strong relationship with their predecessors and aim to have the same moving forward.
I had the pleasure of being part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for two new businesses in downtown Norfolk. The Granby Waffle Shop opened at Slover Library. Freshdawgs opened in the food court at MacArthur Center Mall. These are both family owned and operated. Love the entrepreneurial spirit! I am thrilled these business opened amidst these challenging times. Thanks for doing business in Norfolk.
I wish you all a safe and healthy Labor Day Weekend. Stay safe and please get vaccinated if you haven’t already. We need to reach herd immunity for us to be successful against COVID-19.
With NPD Chief Boone and Dr. Gabriel at Community Connect
Ribbon-cutting at Freshdawgs with owner Lakira and son
Opening of the Granby Waffle Shop at the Slover Library