$5,000 Increase Follows $18,000 Pay Hike

$5,000 Increase Follows $18,000 Pay Hike

Sheriff Steve Simpson is slated to receive second increase in pay beginning Sept. 1, 2004.

Sheriff Steve Simpson, who received an $18,000 salary increase a week ago, will be getting nearly $5,000 more in pay on Sept. 1.

He received four other pay increases totaling $13,490 from 2001 to 2003, said Tom Koenig, senior human resources analyst for the county Human Resources Department. The county provided a $7,300 supplement on June 21, 2001 and a $1,500 supplement on Aug. 29, 2002. The state compensation board gave Simpson pay increases of $2,540 on July 1, 2002 and $2,150 on Dec. 1, 2003. The July 1 pay raise compensated Simpson for a population increase in the county. Loudoun was among the fastest growing counties in the country in 2002. Now it is number one.

The Board of Supervisors two weeks ago set up a practice of allowing constitutional officers such as Simpson to receive annual pay raises equivalent to the percentage increase of the county employees. During the interim, the board granted Simpson a pay hike to ensure his deputy sheriffs would continue to make no more than 90 percent of his salary and to move his pay closer to that of top level law enforcement officials in the region. If the sheriff doesn't get a pay increase, the deputies cannot receive one.

The county staff is slated to receive a 2 percent cost of living allowance and a 2 percent performance increase.

Supervisor Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) voted against the pay increase, saying the previous Board of Supervisors already had to provide a huge supplement. "I don't think he's worth that much of a pay raise, no matter what the circumstances are," he said Monday, adding that his opposition was not personal in nature. "I think it's too large of an increase."

Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) said Loudoun needs to pay for good help. "We like to keep people, and the best people get paid more," he said. "To keep our sheriff, we have to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak."

Simpson said the new policy for compensating constitutional officers sets up a system so there will not be a need to provide a supplement similar to the $18,000 one he received two weeks ago. He said the system places his salary where it should be and the other senior staff salaries where they should be.

Simpson was making $92,929 before his $7,300 pay raise in 2001, records show. A 4 percent raise or $4,979 in September will set his salary at $129,456.

THE OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL officers are the Commonwealth's Attorney, Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Commissioner of Revenue and the Treasurer, who also will receive the 4 percent raise. Only the salaries of the sheriff and the Commonwealth Attorney are governed by the state-mandated 90 percent rule. The Commonwealth Attorney James Plowman, however, does not involve a "compression" issue, so he won't be receiving a pay supplement the size of Simpson's, Koenig said.

The compression problem means the salaries of the chief deputies are capped out and can only go so high, he said. The salary of a major, for instance, might be compressed against that of his superior, a lieutenant colonel.

With the 4 percent pay hikes, Simpson will make $129,456 in September, Plowman, $117,262, the Clerk of the Circuit Court, $114,714, the Commissioner of the Revenue, $93,004 and the Treasurer, $93,004.

The staff report presented to the supervisors said a review of pay levels of neighboring jurisdictions for the chief of police positions indicates the mean salary is $131,484 per year. A salary review of the Sheriff's Office rank and pay structure is underway and is scheduled for completion by the July 6 Board of Supervisors meeting.