As someone who has spent my entire life serving others in my community - first as a Fairfax County Public School teacher, then as a Fairfax County nonprofit leader - I find the recent proposal for a 45% pay increase by our county's top "public servants" objectionable.
While increasing their own salaries ($95k to $135k for all Supervisors, $100k to $145k for Chairman Mckay), county employees were only given a 2% raise, less than the standard cost of living increase. To put this in perspective, a County Records Clerk makes an average of $38,004 per year. With the 2% increase, the clerk will now make a whopping $38,764.08. From library aides to day care staff to probation counselors to public health care nurses to firefighters - the people on the ground working for us every single day to ensure our lives and that of our families are safe and prosperous - do not receive fair wage increases; yet the salaries of our elected leaders are in excess. As SEIU president Tammie Wondong writes, "Despite our calls for wage fairness for employees, it appears the County has another priority; raises for politicians." I stand in solidarity with my union brothers and sisters behind this statement.
This also applies to our teachers. As a former educator with a Master's Degree, my starting salary today would be $58,645. I would need to work 18 years before I reach the current salary of our Supervisors. I would never be able to reach $135k in my lifetime. This is wrong. I have a friend, Julie, who is a school psychologist at one of the most challenging schools in the county. She works with the neediest students, in the most dire of circumstances - on weekends and evenings, if necessary. She is a hero and her work is truly changing lives. She has been in her position since 1994, has two Master’s Degrees and an Educational Specialist Degree and STILL does not make Chairman McKay's salary of $100k. How can we justify increasing Chairman McKay's salary by 45% when the wages of our most heroic county employees, like my friend Julie, do not even compare?
And, finally, let us remember that the Supervisors are not in this line of work for the "big bucks." As an elected official myself, I assumed my position of Delegate knowing that my salary ($17k per year) would be a pay decrease - but so is the nature of the job. Like the Supervisors, I work part-time, and have a second job to compensate for the loss in income. We are public servants, which means we made a promise to put our community over our own self-interests, even if this means our compensation for performing our duties would be less than our work in the private sector.
I encourage my constituents to please make your voice heard. You can share your thoughts at a public hearing regarding the pay increase on March 21 at 4:30 pm at the Fairfax Government Center.
I expect the board to make responsible decisions or I would be open to creating oversight to ensure they do so.