County supervisors have taken one of the final steps in catching up their nearly 5,000 employees’ pay and job descriptions to public sector competitors in the region.
Supervisors launched the project in May 2016, concerned about high turnover among county employees who were generally paid less than their peers in Northern Virginia. The three-year project was designed to make Loudoun’s job descriptions and pay scales more organized and competitive.
In the past two years, supervisors have approved higher-than-normal annual salary increases to catch Loudoun’s public servants up to their peers.
This round of fixes is projected to cost $25.45 million, of which $11 million is already budgeted in the current fiscal year. Employees will begin seeing their pay adjusted in spring.
No employees are expected to see pay cuts under the new plan, but many may see higher raises. The Board of Supervisors’ policy is that Loudoun’s paychecks will fall between 95 percent and 105 percent of comparator jurisdictions—designated by the Board of Supervisors as the City of Alexandria and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William.
The county’s consultant, Evergreen Solutions, found 1,250 job titles on business cards in the Loudoun County government today. After analyzing those jobs based on their tasks and responsibilities, the consultant recommended simplifying those to 604 job titles. The consultant also recommended placing county employees into ranges based on their job titles, qualifications and experience.
The new pay scales range from $27,316 a year at the low end to $306,000 at the high end for department directors. Loudoun’s most senior staffer, County Administrator Tim Hemstreet, has a salary set by the Board of Supervisors, currently set at $243,646.
Fire-rescue and Sheriff’s Office employees will be placed into a 19-level step pay system, with two new ranks added to Loudoun County Combined Fire-Rescue and one more added to the Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters will see five percent salary increases in their first two step increases, and three percent thereafter. The two new ranks, Firefighter II and Master Technician, would offer lower-ranking staff members more opportunities for promotion.
The new rank in the Sheriff’s Office would be a colonel, second to the sheriff and running the office in the sheriff’s absence. Deputies, too, would see five percent increases in their first two raises and three percent increases thereafter.
The senior-most officers in the sheriff’s office in particular will see raises. The pay level for the six majors and the lieutenant colonel will be determined by increasing their salary by 12 percent, finding the next highest step from the new step plan, and placing them at the next step above that.
Some work remains to be done.
One report is still expected on issues with pay compression—when the differences among employees’ qualifications and time in service are not reflected in the differences in their pay. In some cases, according to county reports, new employees have been hired starting at salaries comparable to employees who have been with the county for years.
The other will center around updated human resources policies.
The final report on employee classification and compensation is expected in March.
Supervisors approved the new policies 8-0-1, with Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run) off the dais for the vote.