You Get a Tax Increase; County Board Gets a Raise?

Pat Herrity | The Herrity Report

The Board voted 8 to 2 to consider a raise for Board members, which I opposed along with Supervisor Alcorn (Hunter Mill). The raise would increase Board member salaries from $95,000 to as high as $130,000, with an additional consideration to raise the Chairman’s salary to a range of $140,000 to $145,000. It is unbelievable that this Board would propose a 37 to 45 percent raise for themselves when residents are struggling with high inflation, 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.

This comes on top of a $1.1M increase in Board office budgets approved last year which I opposed. At the meeting Tuesday, I asked staff how our Board office budgets compare to surrounding jurisdictions. In prior budgets I have proposed reducing the size of Board office budgets. More than 70 percent of my staff’s time is spent helping residents from across the County navigate the County’s siloed bureaucracy and many regulations and it is getting worse. Instead of expanding Board offices, these funds would be better spent improving customer service and reducing and simplifying regulations. 

The Board is not proposing similar pay increases for policeparamedics, teachers, and other County employees trying to afford to live in the County. As the proposed budget stands, County employees aren’t even getting a full market rate adjustment (MRA) increase despite our workforce challenges.

For those of you, like me, who want to dig into the details of where this “staff recommendation” and the large increases came from, you will note that they used only jurisdictions in DC and Maryland to compute the numbers (purportedly because they were Full Time positions) showing we were below “market” (59% to 66). If they had compared with just our surrounding Virginia jurisdictions, current Board pay is well above market (154% to 166%). If you include both, we are right at market. Please see the charts here for the details.

As a CFO, I also know that compensation is about more than just the paycheck, it is about the pension benefits, medical benefits and other perks like take home vehicles. While the Board has not approved take home vehicles for Supervisors, I have asked staff for details on take home vehicles provided to Supervisors as well as to include these other benefits in the analysis for a look at total compensation.

My colleagues have repeatedly rejected my proposals to even look at ways to cut taxes by finding efficiencies and reductions in the budget. This proposal to increase Board salaries is just one of many indicators that this Board is not prioritizing what’s important to residents. I strongly encourage you to sign up to testify for the public hearing regarding the increase on March 21st at 4:30pm.

Republican Pat Herrity represents the Springfield Magisterial District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

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