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Warner, Kaine working to get higher pay for federal employees in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are working to get higher pay for federal employees in Virginia Beach.

The senators have urged the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan to implement a pay scale adjustment for federal employees in the city for the 2018 calendar year. They say it is a “long awaited and deserved pay adjustment.”

The senators say the cost of living in Virginia Beach has outpaced federal salary increases.

“We are proud that Virginia is home to 170,000 federal employees.  These individuals work hard every day and provide their expertise to keep our country safe and contribute to the well-being of millions of Americans.  It is critical that the federal government maintain a skilled and devoted workforce.  Yet, in many places, a rise in cost of living has outpaced federal salary increases,” the senators wrote in a release. “In 2015 and again in 2016, the Federal Salary Council recommended that the President’s Pay Agent create separate pay localities for two cities, including Virginia Beach.  This was justified following exhaustive research and analysis of a 3-year period in which the Council found that federal employees in Virginia Beach, on average, experience pay gaps that are 10 percent higher than the ‘Rest of U.S.’ area…We ask that the Administration take the necessary steps to implement the pay scale adjustment for the 2018 calendar year.”

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Ms. McGettigan:

We write regarding an outstanding federal employee pay scale adjustment affecting a number of Virginians.

We are proud that Virginia is home to 170,000 federal employees.  These individuals work hard every day and provide their expertise to keep our country safe and contribute to the well-being of millions of Americans.  It is critical that the federal government maintain a skilled and devoted workforce.  Yet, in many places, a rise in cost of living has outpaced federal salary increases. Federal workers have also endured several years of pay freezes and increased employee retirement contributions with no additional benefits in return.

In 2015 and again in 2016, the Federal Salary Council recommended that the President’s Pay Agent create separate pay localities for two cities, including Virginia Beach.  This was justified following exhaustive research and analysis of a 3-year period in which the Council found that federal employees in Virginia Beach, on average, experience pay gaps that are 10 percent higher than the ‘Rest of U.S.’ area.

In 2016, President’s Pay Agent accepted these recommendations, noting that a regulatory process must take place prior to adoption of the separate locality pay area.  Nevertheless, many of our constituents were led to believe that this change could be implemented for calendar year 2017.

It is our understanding that the Pay Agent has yet to begin the necessary rulemaking process.  We ask that the Administration take the necessary steps to implement the pay scale adjustment for the 2018 calendar year.

We appreciate your attention to this issue and ask that you provide an update on the status of this locality pay update.  For our constituents, this is a long awaited and deserved pay adjustment.

Sincerely,

Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner