( 3 Votes )

Contemplate raise to $16 an hour

How much does a member of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors make?

In Fairfax County the Board chair pulls in $100,000 a year. Other supervisors make $95,000 annually.

In Fluvanna, however, the salaries are smaller. The chairperson makes $9,000 a year. The vice chair earns $8,400 and the remaining members pull in annual salaries of $7,800.

That works out to about $14 an hour, according to estimates supervisors provided of how many hours per week they work.

Like other workers, supervisors are taxed on their earnings. Their take-home pay is therefore less.

In a few months supervisors will likely vote on whether to raise their pay to an average of $16 an hour.
County Administrator Steve Nichols said he has proposed that Board members would make $9,000 per year. The vice chair would earn $9,600 annually and the chairperson would make $10,200.

“I prepared the Board of Supervisors pay proposal on the same basis as I did for other boards and commissions,” Nichols said. “I reviewed other counties around the Commonwealth and focused especially on the 22 local and similar-sized counties.”

Board of Supervisors members have not had a raise since at least 2008, said Nichols.

State code prohibits supervisors from directly voting to raise their own pay. Instead, they must vote before July 1 in an election year. Any pay raise would then go into effect the following year, when some new Board members are taking office.

If passed, supervisors’ pay increase would go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Supervisors also earn some benefits. Most notably, they are eligible for health insurance and other benefits “on the same basis as regular employees, with the same county contribution amounts,” said Nichols.
They may also be reimbursed for mileage, parking fees, tolls and similar costs when driving their own vehicles to events they attend as supervisors, such as town hall meetings. They may not claim expenses related to their regular meetings, which usually take place twice a month.

In this way supervisors are treated the same as other Fluvanna workers, who under the tax code may claim work expenses and mileage other than those incurred on their normal commutes.
The county will pay to send supervisors to conferences, such as the annual Virginia Association of Counties (VaCo) conference. The county also provides supervisors with a cell phone.
The Fluvanna Review asked supervisors to describe the work they do to serve their constituents.

Mozell Booker (Fork Union District)
Vice Chairperson Mozell Booker said that she regularly attends community activities, such as school and church events, to stay in touch with the people she represents. “I’m the mouthpiece of the community, especially for the African American church,” she said. “I try to keep them informed.”

Booker said she puts notices in the post office so that her constituents understand what their government is doing. “I put up things like the tax chart,” she said. “They can see that their taxes might be going up and by how much.”

Booker attends many meetings, including those of the Interagency Council, Partnership for Aging, Jefferson Area Board of Aging, Rivanna River Basin Commission, Youth Advisory Council, TRIAD, and the Fork Union Sanitary District.

“I may spend one or two hours reading Board packets [in preparation for meetings], going through stuff, and researching other Board meetings,” she said. “If an individual involved calls me and wants me to come to their house to talk about taxes or look at a rezoning situation, I go.”
Booker estimated she spends 10 to 12 hours per week working as a supervisor, though she noted that busy weeks often require more time. She is retired from a career in public education.

Trish Eager (Palmyra District)

Supervisor Trish Eager said she spends hours preparing for meetings. “I read the packet cover to cover. Sometimes they’re short little things, but more often they’re 300 pages,” she said. “You want to be sure you’ve read it. If you have questions you call the person who will be presenting. I try to be knowledgeable about what’s on the agenda and ask questions.”

Eager attends meetings of the Social Services Board, Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Council, and sometimes represents the county at Eagle Scout court.
“We tour the schools and other buildings that are maybe in need of repair,” she said. “Sometimes we’ll attend Fork Union or Kents Store senior gatherings to see what they’re doing. Sometimes VaCo has meetings to go to.”

Eager tries to help the people she represents with issues that arise. “I get calls from constituents and try to intervene for them,” she said. “If there’s a road issue I call the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Sometimes I act as a liaison between county administration and whatever constituents’ needs are – whether it’s asking questions of the planning department, health department, or someone else.”

Eager estimated that she spends 25 to 30 hours a week on her duties as supervisor. She also works as a farmer.

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District)
Supervisor Tony O’Brien attends meetings of the Planning Commission, Piedmont Workforce Network Council, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, and Fluvanna’s new Broadband Taskforce.

“We have constituent duties as well,” he said. “We follow up with requests, concerns and emails. We take time to investigate matters that are getting ready to be voted on by researching or seeing the sights, and learning about what the best solution may or may not be – that’s all part of the job.”

Many supervisor meetings go into the late night, O’Brien said. “During budget season, or any time we have something that’s a major priority, there’s usually extra sessions on top of our regular sessions. I may be asked to attend a ceremony, or a nonprofit organization might ask me to speak at an event – there are all sorts of events,” he said.

“Anywhere between eight to 12, 10 to 15 hours per week is kind of the norm,” O’Brien said. “Weeks when we have several meetings it’s extra.” O’Brien also owns Helix Computer Systems in Charlottesville.

Mike Sheridan (Columbia District)

Chairman Mike Sheridan said that he spends time meeting with other Virginia chairpersons. “I go to chairmanships. It’s two days in Richmond. Chairmen sit down with other chairmen around the state and they have a facilitator come in and help you learn how to be a better chair. If we have an issue going on, it’s a great resource for us to sit there and talk through it with supervisors who may have lived through this,” he said.

“Three to four days a year I’ll be down in Richmond talking to legislators,” Sheridan said. “We had an elected officials breakfast – that was an idea that came from there. Goochland was doing it and I said we needed to start.”

Sheridan attends meetings of the Fluvanna County Finance Board and is on the VaCo steering committee for education.

He estimated he spends 10 to 12 hours a week performing supervisor duties on weeks in which there are Board meetings. “On off weeks you’ve got to look up things and you have constituents calling you. If there’s a problem, you go check on it. I’d say it’s about four to five hours those weeks,” he said.

Sheridan works in the Fluvanna County Public Schools.

Don Weaver (Cunningham District)

“It’s pretty hard to cover a lifetime,” said Supervisor Don Weaver, who has served Fluvanna for 36 years.

Over the years Weaver has been on the Central Virginia Regional Jail Board, Thomas Jefferson Planning Commission, Fluvanna County Planning Commission, Landfill Committee, Energy Commission, County

Administrator Search Committee, Fluvanna Transportation Safety Commission, Agriculture/Forestry Advisory Committee, and the Redistricting Committee. “That was a fun one,” he said.

Weaver also pointed to less official duties. “I’ve toured all the schools a multitude of times,” he said. “I think it’s important to see the children in the different grade levels and talk to teachers and principals. And there are other things you’re involved in that you never think about – graduation exercises, leadership graduations, Old Farm Day where you work for charity – just a multitude of things.”

Weaver declined to estimate the number of hours he spends per week on his supervisor duties. He is semi-retired from a career in newspaper work.