Opinion: Commentary: Fully Fund the MRA to Support Our Community

Opinion: Commentary: Fully Fund the MRA to Support Our Community

Frontline Fairfax County employees work hard every day to make our community a better place for all people.

We are nurses, educators, librarians, first responders, parks staff, sanitation workers, engineers and more. We are your friends, family and neighbors. And we want what everyone wants: the ability to make a difference, financial security, and a better life for our kids.

Unfortunately, the proposed Fairfax budget breaks the county’s promise to workers like me by not funding the agreed-upon Market Rate Adjustment.

The Market Rate Adjustment is similar to a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and it is intended to help employees keep up with the high cost of living in this area, as well as to keep up with our neighboring counties. That’s why the Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a pay plan which includes a yearly Market Rate Adjustment.

The agreed-upon formula says the MRA should be 2.51 percent this year, but the proposed budget only offers 1 percent. That is simply not enough.

The Market Rate Adjustment is not just a number to me. I’m the father of seven wonderful children, and I’ve made a promise that nothing will get in the way of them achieving a college education. That’s why I’ve worked hard my entire life.

However, if the county does not keep its promise and fully fund the Market Rate Adjustment, then I may not be able to keep my promise to my kids.

Not fully funding the Market Rate Adjustment also hurts the local families who use our services to get ahead, because it keeps us from recruiting and retaining the quality workforce we need.

We are losing good employees every day. Employees gain experience and training here in Fairfax, and then leave for the surrounding counties that pay more. That costs us money and time, as we are forced to constantly train new employees.

Fully funding the Market Rate Adjustment will help keep the experienced employees that we work hard to train, right here in Fairfax County, helping Fairfax County families.

The Board of Supervisors has an opportunity to do something about this. It is their job to make changes to the budget to ensure it meets the needs of our community.

Please join us in calling on Chairman Sharon Bulova and the Fairfax Board of Supervisors to fully fund the Market Rate Adjustment so that our community can continue to be a wonderful place to live, work and play.

Tarrence Taylor is a Fairfax County employee, resident and tax-payer, and a proud union member of SEIU Virginia 512.