Southampton County employees go second year in a row without a raise

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 4, 2010

COURTLAND—Southampton County employees for a second year will go without a pay increase.

A list of salaries for county workers was distributed to the Board of Supervisors at a recent meeting.

According to both the county’s budget and the school division’s central office, Southampton County Public Schools Superintendent Charles Turner will receive $128,544, which is county government’s highest salary for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Turner was paid the same last year.

In Southampton County, five of the top eight salaries are for elected officials.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke is paid $115,660, Circuit Court Clerk Rick Francis $104,319 and Sheriff Vernie Francis Jr. $99,093.

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson, who is not an elected official, is paid $97,391.

Julia Williams, who retired as the county’s finance director on Aug. 1, was one of the highest-paid officials at $96,494, and received $8,041 for July. Johnson said the Board of Supervisors had approved a salary of $65,144 for the position, which has yet to be filled.

Treasurer David Britt, Assistant County Administrator James Randolph and Commissioner of the Revenue Amy Carr will be paid $71,759, $66,447 and $65,730, respectively.

Julien Johnson, the county’s director of public utilities and no relation to Mike Johnson, is paid $66,447 for heading the county’s water and sewer departments. Robert Barnett receives $61,778 to head the planning department and Sandra Plyler makes $58,425 to head data processing.

Jackie Vick is paid $49,427 to lead the buildings and grounds department, county registrar Leona Davis makes $47,175, W. Hart Council is paid $44,974 at refuse collection and Lee Copeland receives $40,084 for inspections.

Mike Johnson said the last time county employees received a pay raise was for the 2008-09 fiscal year, when they received a 2-percent increase.

“It was a cost-of-living adjustment,” Johnson said, adding that raises in the past “would really vary with inflation, but would range anywhere from two to four (percent). Some years it was three. Typically there would be adjustments for cost of living.

“There haven’t been any merit raises in probably 15 years,” he said.

Localities in Virginia have five elected officers — Commonwealth’s attorney, sheriff, circuit court clerk, commissioner of the revenue and treasurer — whose salaries are set by the state Compensation Board. The General Assembly sets how much those elected officials are paid based on several criteria.

“Usually your highest paid official in most localities is your superintendent of schools,” said Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors Chairman Phillip Bradshaw. “You would usually then get into the constitutional officers. The state sets the pay scale. (Their pay) is based on the position, plus years of service and whether they have certain certifications.”

Bradshaw and Mike Johnson said county boards may choose to compensate constitutional officers additional money for taking on additional duties. For example, in Southampton and in neighboring Isle of Wight County — for Sheriff Charlie Phelps — the sheriff is paid extra money for handling animal control issues.

Board of Supervisor Dallas Jones, who serves as board chairman and represents the Drewryville District, is paid $7,300. Vice Chairman Walter Young Jr., who represents the Franklin District, is paid $6,700.

The other five supervisors are paid $5,500, but Newsoms District Supervisor Walt Brown had asked that half of his pay be transferred to the county schools.