Fairfax County government employees called on the Board of Supervisors to support workers with its new budget amid staff retention issues and financial pressures.
Union representatives discussed the impact of inflation and rising housing and health care costs on their members’ ability to live where they work during public hearings this week on the proposed $4.8 billion budget.
Leslie Houston, a learning disabilities teacher at Braddock Elementary and president-elect of the Fairfax Education Association, said some of her colleagues can’t afford to live and shop in the area.
“In education, we must be about the kids, but that is not possible if we are not taking care of the people who are taking care of the kids,” Houston said.
Janette Corcelius, a teacher who said she lives in the Mount Vernon District with her family, stated that she couldn’t afford to live there on her own even though she’s worked for Fairfax County Public Schools for six years.
“My situation is not unique,” she said. “This is a struggle Millenials and Gen Z come across when trying to live and work in this area. Affordable housing…support is necessary.”
The Fairfax County School Board put forth a $3.3 billion budget plan in February that includes 4% market scale adjustments and step increases for school employees. It will adopt its budget May 26.
The county’s advertised budget for fiscal year 2023, which begins on July 1, would fully fund the school board’s request, which would increase the transferred funds by nearly $112.7 million over last year.
For non-school government employees, the county budget proposes a 4.01% market rate adjustment, adding a 25-year longevity step and providing additional merit and performance increases.
Fairfax Workers Coalition Executive Director David Lyons said most workers are paid well below the midlevel of their pay scales, especially in the trades.
“We are no longer fully competitive in today’s marketplace,” he said. “You need to bring your workers up to scale.”
The Fairfax County Government Employees Union, a chapter of SEIU Virginia 512 that represents sanitation workers, social workers, child educators, and others, requested that the Board of Supervisors protect the plan’s pay increases and lower health care costs for workers.
“The past two years have been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced,” President Tammie Wondong Ware said. “Through it all, your county employees have been on the job, keeping everyone safe.”
Wondong Ware also noted that unions are expected to begin negotiating contracts with the county at the start of the new fiscal year. In a historic shift, the county board agreed last October to allow collective bargaining, but the county is still laying the groundwork to make that happen.
“We look forward to negotiating a contract which ensures…that every year, your workforce receives fair pay, affordable health care, safe staffing levels and healthy workplaces,” Wondong Ware said.
Karen Sheffield, chair of the Employee Advisory Council, which supports over 10,000 employees, said the group applauds the budget’s proposed compensation increases but felt the financial support could go further.
She said many workers are leaving the county government for jobs with better compensation and more options for work-life balance.
“Help us to curtail the exodus,” Sheffield said, calling for a 5.9% market rate adjustment.
The Board of Supervisors will determine how to address competing priorities that range from tax relief and calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to pay equity for the public defender’s office at a budget markup meeting on April 16.
The board will adopt the new county budget on May 10.
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