Supervisors vote to give themselves a hefty raise

March 10, 2023

Fairfax County Times

By Heather Zwicker

Social media sites lit up with comments on posts after a story first reported by WJLA hinted that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considering giving themselves a nearly 45% raise. The proposal would increase supervisor pay from about $90,000 per year to between $125,000 and $130,000. The chairman’s pay would go from about $100,000 to between $140,000 and $145,000.

Then Board voted Tuesday on the board matter presented by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust. The vote was 8-2 in favor of holding a public hearing on the sizeable pay increase for the board members. Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn voted against the measure.

The increase would bring the supervisor’s salaries more in line with officials in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Officials in surrounding Northern Virginia jurisdictions receive much less.

In the matter Foust said that per Virginia law compensation can only be adjusted in an election year and following a public hearing. He recommended that pay for board members be “increased up to $140,000 annually, which is consistent both with surrounding large jurisdictions as well as what compensation would be if they had received the same pay increase as county staff since 2015.” Members of the Board of Supervisors have not received a pay raise since 2015 and since Foust is retiring at the end of the year, he would not benefit from the compensation increase. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who is also retiring at the end of the year, would not receive a raise; she voted in favor of the matter. 

Interestingly, Foust included in his board matter “that staff develop a mechanism for any Board member who disagrees with this compensation adjustment to return any additional compensation they receive to the County.” That means if approved Herrity and Alcorn would not receive the higher salary.

The board matter comes as county residents are suffering from higher costs on goods and services as a result of inflation. And constituents are already complaining about paying high personal property taxes and their increasing real estate tax bills, making the issue of such a large increase in compensation unattractive to constituents.

In fact, some county residents took issue that supervisors would receive this much salary for what is essentially a part-time job. Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said that the only reason he could consider running is because he already had a pension from his previous 30-year job with the county.

“This could backfire on them,” said Ben of Burke responding to a Nextdoor post. “With higher pay, more local residents may want to run.”

Some residents across many social media platforms decried the low salaries of teachers and law enforcement personnel. “The Fairfax Police Department has the lowest starting salary in the area,” said Stephen of Fairfax. The schools have a horrible staff bloat. Take your self-centered raise and give it to first responders and teachers. They deserve it much more than you do.”

On Wednesday, recently elected Delegate Holly Seibold (D-Vienna) issued a statement saying that she finds the proposal “objectionable.” 

“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,” said Seibold. “Yet the salaries of our elected leaders are in excess.”

Conversely, Springfield Democrats lauded the idea tweeting, “Increasing salary on the Board means that local government is more accessible and representative of our County. Don’t let Republicans twist it: this is a good move towards a more equitable Fairfax County.”

“It is unbelievable that this Board would propose a 37 to 45 percent raise for themselves when our 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,” said Herrity, who considers being on the Board a public service.

Alcorn told FFXnow in a statement that he does not support raising supervisor salaries more than what county employees have received during the past eight years. General county and public safety employees have received roughly a 29.84% increase since FY 2015, which includes a 14.76 average merit increase and at 14.08% increase in the market rate adjustment, according to a Herrity staffer.

Additionally, Herrity said that a county car Chairman Jeff McKay pays for out of his office budget should be considered part of compensation. “It would be useful to have that information and take that into account when we’re looking at compensation because compensation is bigger than just a paycheck,” said Herrity.

Before any increase in compensation can occur, a public hearing must be held. Residents can sign up to speak at the meeting on this matter March 21 at 4:30 p.m. For more information visit