Connect with us


Fairfax County supervisors raise board salaries amid opposition



Starting next year, Fairfax County supervisors will earn 30 percent more and the chair of the board will be paid nearly 40 percent more after the board approved salary increases Tuesday night that critics argued ignore residents and county workers struggling to keep up with the region’s rising cost of living.

After a sometimes heated public hearing on the issue that lasted several hours, the board voted 8-2 to raise supervisors’ annual pay from $95,000 to $123,283 and the chairman’s salary from $100,000 to $138,283.

Several supervisors said the increases, which affect the next board when it is installed in January, will help attract a more diverse pool of candidates to part-time offices that have become demanding full-time jobs.

“I am certain that it is in the best interest of all county residents that we attract great candidates from all backgrounds and stages of life to serve on the board,” Supervisor John. W. Foust (D-Dranesville), who introduced the motion, said before the vote.

“And not only that they want to serve on the board but that they compensated adequately so that they can serve on the board,” said Foust, who would not be affected by the salary increases because he is stepping down from his seat at the end of the year. “Even if he or she is not wealthy and does not have access to other sources of income.”

Supervisors Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) and Walter Alcorn (D-Hunters Mill) voted against the raises.


The board’s current salaries were approved in 2015, just as Fairfax County was emerging from an economic slump caused by the 2008 recession.

With the region’s economy again wobbly, this time from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, county residents and labor unions argued that the county should steer more money toward people struggling with annual mortgage payments and other expenses instead of increasing the salaries of elected officials.

The county budget for the next fiscal year proposed by County Executive Bryan Hill would keep the property tax rate for homeowners at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value, which — because of rising property values in the Washington region — would still mean an average $520 increase in annual tax bills.

Under that budget, which the supervisors will vote on in May, the county’s more than 12,000 employees would get a 2 percent pay increase, along with raises based on performance and longevity.

Labor unions argued those raises don’t keep up with the higher cost of living in the region after similarly small raises in recent years — a situation they said has driven county employees to quit or move outside Fairfax.

“Do you know how hard it is for my folks to find child care that’s affordable?” Dave Lyons, director of the Fairfax Workers Coalition, asked the board during a public hearing that featured nearly 50 speakers. “Do you know how they are falling further and further behind every day? People that are less advantaged than you by far.”

After the hearing, Foust altered his original motion — which proposed larger salary increases — to match the average cumulative percent of salary increases to county employees during the past eight years, including raises linked to promotions.


That motion passed. But several supervisors seemed uncomfortable with what amounts to giving themselves a raise if they are reelected in November. All but Foust and Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason) are pursuing another term.

“The board does not enjoy raising its salary,” Jeffrey C. McKay, the board’s chair, said before the vote. “I do not enjoy raising a future board’s salary.”

Gross blamed the timing of the vote on a state law that restricts such pay raises to years when local election years are held, meaning every four years. The next time the county board can consider a pay raise for the board will be in 2027.

“It will never be the right time and the General Assembly has set it up that way,” Gross said. “It’s to create angst and anxiety for everybody.”

Source: Washington Post


Follow us on Google News to get the latest Updates