Pat Herrity proposes 5.4% raise for all Fairfax County employees, 12.5% for officers

April 21, 2023


By Nick Minock

FAIRFAX, Va. (7News) — Inside the Fairfax County government center, county supervisors got an earful from residents at the most recent county budget hearing.

Several residents in attendance late last week asked supervisors for tax relief and pay raises for county employees, including teachers and police officers.

“The problem is we are losing good teachers. We are losing good police officers,” said Mattie Palmore, the Vice President of Mt. Vernon Police Advisory Committee. “They can’t afford to both work and live in our county.”

“More educators than ever are considering leaving the profession altogether,” said Emily VanDerhoff, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers. “And pay, while not the only factor, is a frequently cited reason that educators don’t feel valued enough to stay.”

The McLean Citizen Association sounded the alarm about public safety concerns.

“In the last few years, crime has increased,” said Louise Epstein with Mclean Citizen Association. “People who used to shop at Tysons Mall are going elsewhere given the reported and unreported crime there. People are even buying and learning to shoot guns. Every time a crime is reported, a county official is quoted saying we are the safest jurisdiction of our size. Why are we comparing ourselves to Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City when we talk about safety?”

A county spokesman told 7News that the county executive proposed pay increases that would give 80 percent of county employees an average of a 4 percent raise, which includes a 2 percent cost of living increase.

“The Market Rate Adjustment (MRA) is one component of the county’s pay plan,” a county spokesman told 7News in a written statement. “Performance and longevity increases are also funded in the proposed budget and more than 80% of employees would receive a performance or longevity increase in addition to the MRA. The average increase is 4.39% for uniformed merit employees and 4.06% for non-uniformed merit employees under the proposed FY 2024 budget.”

Supervisor Pat Herrity said that is not enough, especially after supervisors voted to give themselves a 30 to 40 percent raise.

“You can’t take care of yourself and not take care of your employees,” said Herrity. “That sends the wrong message to our employees. I think workforce is the issue of our decade, whether you’re running a restaurant, whether you’re in private business, or whether you’re in the public sector, we’re all having workforce challenges. It’s always important to treat your employees well, but it’s even more important when you’re running a 15% vacancy rate. And the county has an over 15% vacancy rate across the board.”

Herrity is now proposing a 5.4 percent cost of living raise for all county employees instead of the county executive’s 2 percent raise and he’s proposing an additional 12.5 percent raise for police officers, second lieutenant and below.

“There are three things impacting public safety,” said Herrity. “There’s the national trend, there’s a little bit of a trend there. There is the Commonwealth’s Attorney, clearly, but there is also the shortage of 200 officers, and they are overworked. They’re overworked. Crime is going up.”

Herrity said he plans to introduce pay increases for teachers too. He says this would be funded by surplus dollars and finding efficiencies in the county budget.

“It’s a false narrative to say that we can’t take care of our employees and at the same time reduce the burden or eliminate the burden on our taxpayers,” said Herrity.

7News reached out to all Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Chairman Jeff McKay on Friday to hear their thoughts about the county budget. Herrity was the only Supervisor to respond to 7News on Friday.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will “mark up” the county budget on May 2, 2023, and they will vote on the final budget on May 9, 2023.

A Fairfax County spokesperson told 7News there is a General Fund balance of more than $110 million available for the Board of Supervisors to use for Fiscal Year 2024.