A vacant promise?

Published 7:22 pm Monday, December 14, 2015

Whenever the word raise — as in pay increase — is mentioned, people’s ears naturally perk up.

“Am I really going to get a raise?” anyone would ask.

With the emphasis on the word “really,” that’s what localities in Western Tidewater should seriously ask, particularly in light of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement last week of a 2-percent salary increase for state employees and teachers in the proposed state budget.

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That the state would seriously consider rewarding service from the targeted workers is genuinely commendable. Many local officials have expressed their pleasure at the possibility of getting some more money in their paycheck.

But if a thing sounds too good to be true ….

Already, some people are wondering about the details of how the raises will be granted. There appear to be strings attached. As Isle of Wight Schools spokeswoman Lynn Briggs has observed, “The state’s share doesn’t fully fund the 2 percent. We don’t know what that means for Isle of Wight County. It’s also only for positions that are under the Standards of Quality. Those are minimum staffing requirements. We have positions in Isle of Wight County that aren’t under that standard.”


Then there’s the question of whether the state would have enough money the following year to support that raise. The deserving recipients could find that not only was the pay bump temporary but also their localities could be in the hole to pay a difference thereafter.

Thankfully, localities can choose whether or not to accept the salary increase. We hope that all concerned in Western Tidewater will look very closely at the offer.

One wonders whether the governor’s offer is just a vacant promise.