After publishing our story about Gloucester County’s Administrator and Attorney getting raises, we received numerous comments from Gloucester residents. It looks like there are a whole lot of people in Gloucester who do not agree with the Board of Supervisors repeatedly giving nice raises and increased hours of paid time off to our local government executives while our non-executive employees get little to nothing. In fact, there are employees who take home less pay now than they did ten and more years ago. This type of crony socialist practice in our local government should be considered unacceptable by anyone who has worked for a living.
Now there is talk of bonuses for county employees, (Imagine that, just before election time) but are bonus payments in the best interest of non-executive local government employees? Yes and no. If a person working for our local government has no intentions of ever retiring under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), then yes, bonuses would likely be beneficial to them.
Bonuses are not in the best interest of non-executive employees who intend to make Virginia government service a career. Bonuses are not included as part of a Virginia government employee’s annual salary when determining how much their retirement check from VRS will be. VRS defines Annual Salary as:
An employee’s full compensation payable annually, not including overtime pay, extraordinary pay, bonus pay, nonpermanent shift differentials or termination pay for annual or sick leave.
The best way to compensate or reward our non-executive local government employees is with a real pay raise. Throwing a bonus to these employees is nothing more than an effort to get by with paying these hard-working people as little as possible. What the current and previous Boards of Supervisors don’t seem to get is, these employees are the ones who provide us with water and sewer, maintain our infrastructure, repair our government used vehicles and perform numerous other important functions and services. They don’t get the concept of investing in those employees at any level, but they will hand out tax dollars and paid time off to executive employees like it is candy. Some things need to change in Gloucester and the last four years have not produced those changes.
Below are the contents of emails one Gloucester resident received from some Gloucester County Supervisors when she questioned our local government employees’ pay. Sounds like the same old empty promises that have fueled the waste of Gloucester County taxpayer dollars in other areas. Like renting our libraries and health department spaces instead of owning them and not creating a revenue stream from health department rent that is paid to Gloucester by the Commonwealth, not consolidating compatible school and county services, building more parks than our local government should ever be responsible for and numerous other wasteful practices.
From Andy James:
“Thanks for sending your e-mail. I totally agree, all our county employees deserve a substantial raise, and even though I am one of seven on the BOS, will fight for this raise when it comes up. Please know that even though the funding is tight, we still greatly appreciate the great jobs that our employees do to make it all work. Also, the raises that we gave to Mr. Fedors and Mr. Wilmot were much deserved, as well.
Andy James, Ware Dist. Supervisor”
From Phillip Bazzani:
“Coming from private industry as a retired executive at Newport News Shipbuilding, we always paid employees for performance and results.
Having said that, I will tell you that for the upcoming budget, compensation for all County employees will be our first priority. Because this Board has simplified ordinances stifling new business growth over the last few years, and the significant organizational initiatives Mr. Fedors has implemented, we will have the ability to address compensation. This is due to the additional sales tax revenue from new businesses who recently set up shop here, and savings/cost avoidance we have experienced thus far thanks to Mr. Fedor’s leadership.
Compensation will be a top priority for me in my upcoming term for all employees. Moreover, Mr. Fedors has not indicated that the County will not provide the additional compensation bonus to our employees which is scheduled to occur at the end of this year.
You will hear more about compensation as the year goes on. I would be glad to talk to you more about this issue, so please do not hesitate to call me at 757-262-8462 (cell).
From John Meyer:
“It was a pleasure to talk to you at the Jubilee – I just thought I’d take the time to put into writing what we discussed.
On the road trip back from the Governor’s Rural Prosperity Summit last week, Mr Fedors and I talked at some length about employee compensation. There are several factors – sustained low wage growth; increased cost-of-living (to include health insurance); an improving economy that offers employees options; and increased competition for talent from other counties – that lead to the conclusion that county pay must be increased. Brent is currently working on the pay structure for next year to determine how much it should be and how it should be allocated. But there is no doubt in my mind that an upward adjustment needs to and will be made.
As for the 1% bonus this year – this was based on using the unexpended fund balance from last year, and couldn’t be awarded until after the books were ‘closed’ for FY17 (ending Jun 30, 2017). The review is nearly done and the numbers look good. There is no reason not to expect the bonus in the very near future.
Finally, with regards to Mr Fedors and Mr Wilmot salary increases. As Mr James pointed out, they have been doing exceptional work – and the Board wanted to recognize that. But something to keep in mind is that they are on a different pay cycle than the rest of the employees. The budget and employee compensation for this current fiscal year has to be set in April. The Administrator and County Attorney have their reviews in late summer and their compensation adjustment is determined by the end of September, and they are paid starting in January. This out-of- cycle pay adjustment means that you could either think of them as the only ones that got pay increases this year – or you could think of them as being the first ones to get pay raises for next year … and as a leading indicator for good things to come for all employees.
Thank you for writing,