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MORE: Loudoun supervisors approve 62 percent pay raise in 5-4 vote

Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors will see a substantial pay increase starting in 2020.
After weeks of discussion, Loudoun supervisors agreed Thursday night on a 62 percent raise for the next Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission effective 2020.

The proposal passed 5-4 with supervisors Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) opposed.

Under the new pay rate, members of the next Board of Supervisors, excluding the chair and vice chair, will be paid $66,826 in 2020, which is up from the current $41,200. The vice chair will be paid $73,363, up from $45,320, and the chair will make $81,100, up from $50,000. Supervisors will then receive a 2 percent salary increase for three years.

The new pay system also raises the salaries for members of the Planning Commission from $21,315 to $25,000, the chair of the commission from $22,334 to $30,000, and the vice chair from $21,315 to $27,500.

The last time the Board of Supervisors had their salaries increased was in 2008. Under Virginia code, the board cannot increase its compensation during the current term or put the proposal up for a vote via referendum.

Leading up to Thursday’s meeting, the proposal pitched by first-term Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) and second-term Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) stirred contentious debate among supervisors and drew wide criticism from Loudoun residents on social media.

Ahead of the final vote on the raise, Vice Chairman Buona -- one of the strongest opponents of the raise -- attempted to offer an amendment to lower the amount of the pay bump.

Buona instead pitched raising the board's current salaries of $41,200 to $50,000; the chair’s from $50,000 to $60,600; and the vice chair’s from $45,320 to $55,000, followed by a 2 percent increase over the next three years of their terms afterwards.

He said his proposal was slightly higher than the consumer price index and also matched the raise county staff received from 2008 to 2018.

Buona’s motion ultimately failed 2-6-1, with Buona and Umstattd voting in favor and Volpe abstaining.

“I think this is a reasonable proposal,” Buona said. “I think that If you’re not willing to support the proposal you’re sending a message that we’re more important than [county] staff.”

Supervisor Letourneau argued board members are different than county staff. He pointed out that supervisors do not always qualify for certain benefits, programs and automatic pay increases that county staff do.

“The statement was made that the board shouldn’t treat itself differently, but the board is by code and by practice very different from the rest of staff in ways that are both positive and negative to the board,” Letourneau said. “ … When the [county] budget increases and when the population increases, then the workload increases but it’s the same number of people.”

For weeks supervisors in favor of the raise like Chairwoman Randall had made the case that the raise would remove financial barriers to access the role of elected official, widening the pool of applicants for future boards.

“I have had many many people say the words to me, ‘I thought about running for office but I realize I couldn’t afford it.’” she said. “I’ve had that over and over and over again from both sides of the political aisle … what message are we giving to people?”

Randall said she agreed the proposal came off as “bad optics,” but argued the job of supervisor in Loudoun County had changed dramatically since 2008.

Supervisor Higgins said that board members who believed the job of supervisor came with more responsibilities than it did in 2008 did not need a raise for themselves, but needed to raise their district budget for their staff aides.

“[The raise] isn’t going to change anything because people aren’t going to give up their careers for a four-year stint,” Higgins said. “So if you really want to get more time, when we get to the budget discussions let’s talk about expanding our money that we have in our offices.”

Last summer, the board approved a $240,000 increase for eight of their district budgets. Buona was one of three supervisors to reject that budget increase. He also declined to take any of the money for his office.


Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @sydneykashiwagi.

Related coverage:
-"Loudoun supervisors considering 62 percent pay hike for next board"
-"Loudoun supervisors’ pay raise advanced for a July 20 vote, but not without a fight"

Comments


Higgins is a fool.  “Not going to give up their career”.  Last Chair did not have another job.  Umstattd has no job now.  This is a very much PART TIME job.  $60,000 for a few hours a month and lots of free luncheons.  Plus over $100,000 to pay for staff to do all the tough work and deal with voters.  I might just consider running for that part time gig.


These 5 BOS just told all Loudoun taxpayers to open up your checkbook as taxes are going way up the next few years, to help pay for this raise and all the other raises they’ll ok. Pretty hard to tell teachers, fire, police that they won’t get any raises. Or when School asks for an extra $100 million per year, how can they say NO? And Loudoun will have to kick in extra money for Metro.


Pre raise, these are pretty small salaries.  IF they are full time jobs I see nothing wrong w/ these raises.  Especially living in Loudoun county.


I find it interesting that Chair Phyllis Randall is commenting on the LTM Facebook post about this article using her personal FB profile while blocking her critics from being able to see or respond.

Randall’s false claim of asking citizens to weigh in well ahead of time combined with her cowardly attempt to block constituents from true engagement just shows she is not fit for office of any kind.  Whatever one thinks about the BOS raise, we can all agree Randall is not worth a minimum wage.


First, I hope they reconsider.  Second, if any members become carryovers, they can always donate their extra salary to a deserving charity.


how about 60% for teachers and all first respnders!


Duncan-Idaho - Most (if not all) will agree that a raise is in order, but 62% is what is objectionable.  I hope you can at least see that point.


I sure don’t want to pay for their chosen lifestyle. Supervisors come and go depending on which way the wind blows. The County is so great because of the dedicated and hard-working staff. Let’s see what they do when it’s time to approve their increase…


66k for a part time job?  what do the tax returns show for the current BOS members.  I doubt any are hurting for money with full time jobs and companies some of the members own.


Make it retroactive to 2015.


The Founders believed a political office was to be low in monetary compensation in order to attract those who were motivated for public service, not monetary compensation.


This pay raise is peanuts compared to the multi-billion dollar budget these supervisors manage and the lives of 350,000 residents.

The BoS now makes the same as the average resident in Loudoun.


I love the attitude of some of the commenters: Raises for me, but not for thee.


Does this mean that the BOS will be less susceptible to bribes…oh sorry, I meant “campaign contributions” from real estate developers?


Any person that voted in favor of the raise should NOT be reelected on the theory that they approved this raise for future board members and not themselves.


At least I know 5 BOS that won’t be re-elected. Those voting in favor are a disgrace and should be made to step down ASAP. They’re in denial if they don’t see why so many US citizen feel politicians are corrupt.


What courage.  Everybody wins.  4 members get to rail against the raise and how they voted no…then they go to the bank and cash the bigger check.


Lets hope the new board at least establishes the top ten issues of the county and then reports on progress similar to what any business has to do to survive. Here are just 7 the new board might consider which thus far the current board has not seriously addressed nor reported on:
1 LCPS provides no cost justification for some of its capital investments yet BOS still OK’s dollars (artifical turf fields for schools with operating water wells)
2 Establish charter so cigarette taxes can be collected thereby earning millions to offset tax burden
3 Start process to get Dulles Airport parking lots returned to Loudoun so property tax can be collected
4 Stop excluding hospitals, HHMI and large developer held properties from property tax the rest of us must pay
5 Force VDOT to meet its own minimum standards for roads it is responsible for ESPECIALLY ROUTE 15 NORTH OF LEESBURG and pave servce roads commuters are using like Wilt Store and Montressor!
6 Stop approving high density residential developments which do nothing but drive up property tax rates
7 Stop embarrassing the county by publicly stating stadiums are profitable for communities who sponsor them or that somehow “PAYING” the Redskins so we can state facts such as there headquarters is in Loudoun.
Bob O__ Esq.

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