Republican members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave a slap to Sheriff Stan Barry on Tuesday, voting against a pay hike for him to show their displeasure at his pursuit of another term last year despite having entered a retirement program that rewards participants with a lump sum and requires them to leave.
The GOP three — Supervisors John C. Cook (Braddock); Michael R. Frey (Sully); and Patrick S. Herrity (Springfield) — voted nay Tuesday when asked to approve an $8,000 raise for Barry. The motion nonetheless carried, with all seven Democratic voting in the affirmative. Barry’s new salary was set at $160,193.
The GOP members approved increases for other constitutional officers’ salaries. But they made a point of expressing displeasure with Barry in light of what they said was his campaign pledge not to collect a county salary if re-relected.
“Stan broke his word,” Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R) said afterwards. “I don’t think we should reward bad behavior.”
Frey said he also objected to providing the 15 percent premium the county adds to the portion funded by the state for a constitutional officer such as the sheriff.
Barry did not return a Post reporter’s phone call last night.
Barry (D), who has served as sheriff since 1999, won reelection last November following a campaign in which the GOP attacked Barry for running for another term despite entering the county’s Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) in 2009.
Under DROP, employees who are eligible to retire instead continue working for three years. In the meantime, the money they would have received in pension benefits goes instead toward a special interest-bearing account that earns up to 5 percent a year. At the end of three years, employee collect their DROP lump sums and retire.
Both Democratic and Republican members of the Board said DROP was not intended for elected officials when the county established the program in 2003.
Republicans said Barry had gamed the system to receive approximately $1 million and then continue collecting a paycheck. In response to the controversy over Barry, Del. Timothy Hugo (R-Fairfax) submitted a bill to the Virginia General Assembly this session that would bar elected officials from entering Fairfax County’s DROP in the future.
But Barry has said his opponents have exaggerated the size of the lump sum he will receive. He also said that he obtained approval from the County Attorney ’s office about the legality of participating in DROP and running for reelection.
Under an arrangement that Barry said has been vetted by the county attorney, he said he will not collect any lump sum until his new term is completed. Instead, that money will put aside in a separate account that would not accrue any further interest. He also would not collect his retirement benefits or receive additional retirement credits for years of service during his term.
The vote on several constitutional officers’ salaries came after Board members met in closed session.
Clerk of the Court John T. Frey’s pay was set at $155,418, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh’s salary was set at $184,791. The Board approved a 2.2 percent increase to County Attorney David P. Bobzien. His salary is now $210,114.
Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason), who chairs the Personnel Police and Reorganization Committee, said the Board gave County Executive Anthony H. Griffin high marks in a thorough annual review of his performance. But in light of his immiment retirement this spring, the Board declined to raise his $244,990 annual salary.