Leesburg Council Enacts Automatic COLA Pay Hikes for Self

The Leesburg Town Council last week approved annual pay increases for the mayor and council members, equal to any Cost of Living Adjustment they approve for town employees.

Currently, the mayor is paid a stipend of $16,200 a year, and council members are paid $15,600 per year, disbursed in monthly installments.

The increase passed with little discussion at the June 14 meeting. Mayor Kelly Burk and council members Neil Steinberg, Marty Martinez and Ara Bagdasarian voted in favor; Suzanne Fox, Zach Cummings and Kari Nacy voted against.

Virginia law allows for paying mayors and town council members, as well as providing them with same benefits, such has health insurance, provided to town employees by the town. A provision preventing a council from enacting a pay increase during current term in office is not applied to councils such as Leesburg’s with staggered terms.

The first raise will go into effect on July 1 with the beginning of the town’s fiscal year 2023; town employees and, now the town council and mayor, will receive a 2% COLA.

The Board of Supervisors, which unlike the town does not see its powers drawn out in a town charter, in 2017 to raise board salaries, but did not find that they have the authority to tie those raises to anything else such as an annual COLA. The board, which does not have staggered terms, also is not permitted to enact those raises during its own term.

5 thoughts on “Leesburg Council Enacts Automatic COLA Pay Hikes for Self

  • 2022-06-23 at 2:44 pm
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    Frankly, I could do without these public servants voting themselves more money — for any reason. They’re already feeding quite nicely at the public trough. Times are tough. Taxpayers don’t want to see their money lining the pockets of public servants. On a brighter note, Welcome to Summer Loudoun!

  • 2022-06-23 at 6:30 pm
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    This should have been a ballot question. Since when do employees decide their own raises, and yes they are employees of the people. If the voters think this is fine ok, but it should be up to them.

  • 2022-06-24 at 8:35 am
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    Most if not all board members of local charities volunteer (no stipends). Maybe we would see a different level of quality and commitment if we took remuneration out of the formula ESPECIALLY for school board members! Don’t we often hear how critical they care about COMMUNITY SERVICE?

  • 2022-06-24 at 9:05 am
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    Looks like a great issue to use in the coming campaign. While it sure involves a lot of time and devotion to serve in public office, the dynamics of the Leesburg Town Council (on which I served for 6 years) are such that most of the work and decision-making is by the town professional staff. And, much of what Leesburg does is duplicative with what its taxpayers pay the county to do. Martinez is dead weight and pretty much does what staff recommends.

  • 2022-06-24 at 10:25 am
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    I don’t live in Leesburg so this decision does not impact me directly. While the issue isn’t that they are determining their own raise, it’s because it’s connected to the raises for employees.

    Their stipends are small and only apply to a few individuals. To maximize their raises they are potentially giving a higher increase to employees. Obviously that would be a much larger impact on the tax payers than if the raises were no connected. This appears to be a mistake on their part.

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