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Pay raises for city firefighters and police officers delayed until September

RICHMOND, Va. -- Pay raises for Richmond firefighters and police officers will be delayed until September, according to a memo sent to firefighters.

Pay raises were supposed to go out to firefighters and police officers Friday, July 28, after being approved earlier this year as a part of the 2017-18 city budget.

The mayor’s office said there are two reasons for the delay.

The mayor’s office also said it took a while for the police, fire and the human resources departments to determine who would get raises and give that information to the budget office. The mayor's office said they just received that information last week.

The second reason is a new City Council regulation that requires council members to approve a transfer of funds between major city programs.

Mayor Levar Stoney was against the oversight amendment earlier this year, saying the budgeting practice was “bad policy.”

Council said the ordinance was necessary to prevent mis-use of funds and increase transparency in City Hall.

“This is unfortunately exactly what I was worried about,” said Stoney.

In this case, council allotted a lump sum of money for the raises and now the funds need to be transferred to employees.

Councilman Mike Jones said council budget staff actually asked for a breakdown of how the money would be broken up before approving the raises, but they never received that information.

“You don't believe that has contributed in this delay in raises for our firefighters and our officers?” asked CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit. “Not if our budget people asked how do you want it broken out?  If we asked what line items do you want the monies placed in, how do you want it given to you, and we didn't receive that or we were told to give it to them this way, we're not responsible for that,” said Jones.

Keith Andes, President of the Richmond Firefighters' Association, said he believes the people working to protect Richmond are caught in the middle of a political power play.

“We're kind of a pawn in this game where it's a struggle still with this mayor at large and over this ordinance that has been passed by city council,” he said.

Mayor Stoney says he will call for an emergency meeting of City Council in an attempt to approve movement of money for raises.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

Melissa Hipolit will have more on this story on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m.