The Fairfax County supervisors who take office in January will be making significantly more money after a vote by the current board Tuesday night.
Supervisor pay will rise from $95,000 to $123,283 — nearly 30 percent — for members, and from $100,000 to $138,283 — nearly 40 percent — for the chair, effective at the beginning of the new term after November’s election.
The raise was proposed by Supervisor John Foust, who isn’t running for reelection. According to Virginia law, pay raises for supervisors must be proposed in an election year, and can only apply to the council that will take office after the approaching election.
The Fairfax County board hasn’t had a raise in eight years, and a report by county officials first reported by Fairfax Now found that pay lagged behind area jurisdictions including DC and Montgomery County, Maryland.
However, a long line of residents took to the microphone on Tuesday to almost unanimously denounce the raises as either excessive or fully unwarranted, especially given that the positions are officially part time. Speakers included some labor leaders who pointed to the 2 percent raise that the board is proposing for county workers.
Steve Monahan, president of the Fairfax County chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, said he and his members were “profoundly disappointed” in the pay-raise proposal. He said Fairfax County was one of the lowest-paid police departments in the region.
David Lyons, of the Fairfax Workers Coalition, said, “I don’t recall a time when I’ve heard our workers so upset.” He said the proposal came at a time of “serious crisis in recruitment and retention.” Other area jurisdictions, he said, “want our workers,” and they’re getting them. “You have to get your minds around the fact that Fairfax is not the gold standard” for public workers, he told the supervisors.
Tammie Wondong Ware, president of the Fairfax County Government Employees Union SEIU 512, added, “It’s time to prioritize the Fairfax workforce.”
A reduced increase
Foust amended his proposal at the meeting — the original proposed raise was higher. He said that the raise, spread out over the eight years since the last one and the four years that the board won’t be able to get a pay bump, comes out to a little under 3 percent — in line with other county workers.
Foust added that supervisors’ responsibilities have expanded beyond their job descriptions, including work on unpaid boards. Vice Chair Penelope Gross, who is also not running for reelection, said the job of supervisor is “really a full-time job, even though it’s part time according to the state.”
“No one enjoys this process,” Chairman Jeff McKay said before the vote.
The board voted 8-2 to approve the raise. Supervisors Walter Alcorn and Patrick Herrity voted against it.
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