Keep pay where it is

Published 9:56 am Friday, March 11, 2011

It speaks to Southampton County supervisors’ fiscal restraint over the years that their own compensation — some $5,500 apiece annually — ranks 69th lowest among boards of supervisors in 95 Virginia counties.

That amount is about half of the state average and half of the amount earned by supervisors in neighboring Isle of Wight and Greensville counties. Even supervisors in sparsely populated Sussex County earn more than do Southampton’s supervisors.

That apparent inequity might seem to justify a pay increase for the Southampton County board. By state law, such a raise can only be approved in an election year and must be done by July 1.

While supervisors could, as a matter of both law and fairness, raise their own pay, this is not the year to do it.

The amount of money involved is peanuts in the context of the multimillion-dollar county budget, but symbolically if for no other reason, it’s important that supervisors share the pain of the difficult fiscal times in which county government and its citizens are living.

If the economy improves over the next four years, the issue can be revisited before the next election.