Vienna is considering more than doubling the salaries for mayor and town council going forward, but the current holders of those offices suggested they will aim lower amid still-high inflation, fears of a recession, and general economic uncertainty.
At a conference session on Monday (Dec. 12), town staff proposed bumping up the pay for town council members from $5,000 per year to $12,000, and from $7,500 per year to $15,000 for the mayor. It would be the first raise for the mayor since 2014 and the first for the council since 2002.
Acknowledging the awkwardness of elected officials discussing their own compensation, Mayor Linda Colbert noted that, based on a rough estimate of the hours she spends on the part-time job, her current salary is equivalent to $7.32 per hour — well under Virginia’s minimum wage of $11.
“Nobody wants to give themselves a raise. We’re public servants. That’s not the first thing on our mind,” Colbert said. “We’re always thinking about the residents, but I do think if we’re going to do this, staff has come up with a reasonable amount.”
If approved, the raises would be in place for Jan. 1, 2024, since Virginia law prohibits salary increases from taking effect during the incumbent mayor or town council’s term.
The suggested new salaries would still put Vienna below the towns of Herndon and Leesburg, which both approved pay hikes earlier this year. For city elected officials, compensation is limited by the state code based on the locality’s population, Vienna Finance Director Marion Serfass noted.
Still, some council members seemed wary of pushing for a significant raise, questioning the proposed $3,000 gap between the mayoral and council salaries compared to the approximately $1,000 difference seen in other jurisdictions.
“I think making a decision on this based on what other jurisdictions are doing in terms of the differential between council and mayor, I just like the optics of that a lot better,” Councilmember Nisha Patel said, suggesting that the mayoral salary should be closer to $13,000.
Councilmember Ed Somers said he’s fine with a bigger gap, considering that there are six council members and just one mayor.
“From a budgetary standpoint, the council collectively costs the taxpayers a lot more than the mayor does,” he said. “So, I am worried about the fiscal issues. I am worried about where we’re headed with the economy, so I still think the spread should be a little bit higher.”
While Colbert argued that Vienna “should be leaders” in terms of setting pay standards, Councilmembers Chuck Anderson and Howard Springsteen sided with Patel in preferring the “optics” of aligning with other localities.
The salary increases are expected to be put on the agenda item for the council’s Jan. 9 meeting before the upcoming budget cycle gets in full swing, according to Serfass.
“We’re going to be making difficult choices in a time when there’s a lot of economic uncertainty,” Anderson said. “We’re probably going to have to ask people to basically make sacrifices, and if we as a council aren’t willing to do that, then I think it’s really tough for us to look staff in the face and ask them to do that.”
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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