Worker resignations for Fairfax County government positions jumped up nearly 62% from 2020 to 2021, from 507 departures to 821 departures.
Fairfax County leaders are debating how to improve recruitment and retention, citing private-sector wages that created competitive environments for positions from police to information technology.
“These resignations and retirements are trending higher,” Director of Human Resources Cathy Spage said yesterday (Tuesday) during a personnel committee meeting. “I will say that they were trending higher before the pandemic. They just started accelerating their trend pretty much starting in 2021.”
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust noted that Maryland recently ended its four-year-college-degree requirements for many jobs. The Old Line State estimates that more than half of its over 38,000 positions can substitute a four-year degree with experience, training, or community college education.
Foust recommended that Fairfax County reevaluate its criteria for different positions, which could have been established decades ago in some cases.
Different factors mean different agencies across the regional government require different solutions, County Executive Bryan Hill said.
“We’ve seen the attrition rate for public safety rise dramatically over the last couple years,” said Tom Arnold, the deputy county executive for safety and security.
Resignations in public safety have increased from 87 positions in 2018 to 129 departures in 2021, while retirements have increased every year during that time frame, from 96 to 141.
“Over the first two months of this calendar year, we’ve seen a much higher attrition rate…within public safety, comparable to…health and human services or others, but I think the scariest part of that is, many of those exits are to the private sector,” Arnold said.
As agencies have raised starting salaries to compete, additional challenges could arise from the resulting inequities between pay for new staff and existing staff, he noted.
County seeks solutions
The county is examining whether compensation, the pension system, and other factors are enough to attract and keep staff, something that is more difficult for the public sector in hot job markets.
“We gotta know exactly why people are leaving,” Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay said, adding that departing county government workers shouldn’t feel shy or intimidated about sharing information in exit interviews.
He also noted the private sector is being affected too, with the region having hundreds of thousands of job vacancies.
“I think we need to spend some time in doing what the private sector and other public entities are forced to do right now: take action in strategic areas to stop the bleeding…to mechanically go in and fix something that we see a trend is telling us is a problem in a certain grade of employee or a certain class or a certain department or a certain agency,” McKay said.
As many workloads have increased during the pandemic, workers have reported stress, burnout, anxiety, and increased debt, according to a report released this month by MissionSquare Research Institute, a D.C. nonprofit linked to a retirement plan provider for public workers.
“Among those employees who are seeing more of their coworkers depart, nearly four out of five (78%) said the departures put a strain on their workload,” the institute wrote.
Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who chairs the personnel committee, said increased expectations, in part due to technology, have meant more demanding jobs, pushing workers to their breaking points.
While there is added stress and complaints, it can also create opportunities, she said, noting that employers might sometimes not fully recognize just how challenging increased workloads can be.
The county is preparing to finalize its budget for fiscal year 2023, which starts in July. The advertised budget included $79.26 million in unallocated funds that could be used for employee compensation and other county needs.
Increased valuations for vehicles could bring in additional revenue, though the county board is considering providing tax relief to auto owners.
Meanwhile, the county is working toward providing unions the right to collectively bargain, following an ordinance passed last October to allow the process.
Good Friday evening! Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 6621 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
Lake Anne’s plaza will once again spring to life this summer with concerts. Lake Anne Live! — an event series that kicked off last year — brings Thursday evening concerts…
The proposed repurposing of Inova Health System’s former corporate headquarters in Merrifield as live/work and workforce housing units got a hearty recommendation from the Fairfax County Planning Commission earlier this…
Are you ready for summer? Live Fairfax has a bucket list of indoor activities, outdoor escapades and trips to explore this summer.
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road