FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — Following a lengthy public hearing on Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a measure on an 8-2 vote to raise the salary of board members by 30 percent.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust introduced the motion to raise board member salaries during the board’s March 7 meeting. The proposal called for a new pay range for supervisors between $125,000 to $130,000 and $140,000 to $145,000 for the chairman.
Related: Herrity: 45% Pay Hike Outrageous; Board Out Of Touch Union Chief Says
On Tuesday night, the board voted to authorize a 30 percent pay increase ($123,283) for supervisors and a 38 percent increase ($138,283) for the chairman, according to Chairman Jeff McKay’s newsletter.
The following is the full text of McKay’s statement in his newsletter about the pay increase:
What happened? Today we conducted a public hearing for the proposal to increase the compensation of the Board of Supervisors. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation about this.
Why now? As described in the Board Matter approved on March 7, by state law, this action can only be taken in an election year and only applies to the Board sworn in on January 1, 2024. Therefore, the current Board is determining the compensation of future Boards, not our own. The compensation of the Board of Supervisors has not changed since 2015. I have been on the Board for 16 years and have only voted for a pay increase once in that timeframe. The Board does not receive the pay increases other County employees receive, nor do we accrue annual leave or sick leave. My vote on this is something that I take very seriously. We must balance the increasing demands of the job as well as not use salary as a way to protect incumbency by preventing people from running for office. It is so important to make sure the Board reflects the County population and demographics. I also feel it is important that Board members like myself can choose to do these jobs full-time. That is what I have personally done and what I feel my constituents deserve and expect.
After analyzing County employee compensation as well as compensation for elected bodies across the region, County staff recommended an increase to $140,000 for Supervisors and $161,000 for Chairman. While the analysis was informative, I always felt these amounts were way too high. Today by an 8-2 vote we adopted a salary adjustment lower than what staff recommended and lower than the range we advertised two weeks ago: $123,283 for Supervisors and $138,283 for Chairman, effective on January 1, 2024 for the next Board of Supervisors.
I have appreciated all of the feedback for and against, and that feedback helped us craft a middle ground that treats Board member compensation just like regular County employees and the salary increase that takes effect in January 2024 for the next Board is tied exactly to that.
“Despite overwhelming public testimony against the proposal, the Board approved a 30 percent raise for themselves when our residents are struggling with high inflation, high gas prices, a 50 percent increase in homeowner taxes over the last decade, and in a budget that does not address the staffing crisis in public safety and other critical county positions,” Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity said in a post on Twitter.
The board is only allowed to adjust its compensation during an election year and is required to hold a public hearing and vote on a pay change before April 15. The pay raise that was approved on Tuesday night goes into effect in January, when the new board is sworn in. Board members are not required to take the pay hike if they so choose.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn was the only board member to join Herrity, the lone Republican on the board, in not voting for the pay increase.
“I do not support raising supervisor salaries more than what county employees have received during the past eight years,” Alcorn told Patch following the March 7 meeting.
Related: Pay Raise Measure For Fairfax County Board Considered By Supervisors
In total, about 38 people showed up at the government center or called in to voice their opinion during the public hearing to voice their opinion about the the pay raise proposal.
Arthur Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, told Patch in an email that he opposed the pay raise because the supervisors haven’t earned it.
“Specifically for 20 years [they] have recklessly raised real estate taxes three times faster than household income; the police force is short 200 officers due to resignations; they’re spending millions in a crusade against a non-existent climate crisis; and they ruined businesses and careers, disrupted families, and exacerbated the mental health crisis with their unconstitutional lockdowns and vaccine mandates,” he said.
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