When the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors gave sheriff's deputies a 1.5 percent raise this year instead of the 20 percent they sought, some deputies grumbled publicly that the board ought to keep the money.
The board didn't. So the deputies, protesting their last-place salary ranking among Northern Virginia law enforcement agencies, are giving it back.
Deputy 1st Class Christopher C. Athey said at least 114 of the department's 150 deputies below the rank of captain will have $10 -- the average raise after taxes -- deducted from their biweekly paychecks for six months by the county payroll office.
Athey, a spokesman for the Loudoun County Deputy Sheriffs Association, said the money will be donated to Jackie Lindsay, a 2-year-old Lovettsville girl who suffers from leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant.
Athey said a 1.5 percent raise will not enable deputies to buy houses in Loudoun County, where the average price of a detached house is $160,000, or enable the department to recruit and retain the best deputies. A deputy with five years' experience starts in Loudoun at about $29,000.
Despite a 5 percent increase last year for 134 Loudoun deputies aimed at making their salaries more competitive, the department's pay scale still ranks last among nine comparable Northern Virginia agencies, according to studies by the county and the association. The other agencies include the Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax police and sheriff's departments, and the Leesburg and the Prince William County police departments.
Loudoun deputies also say that state troopers assigned to Loudoun receive the 20 percent salary differential designed to offset Northern Virginia housing prices.
Loudoun Sheriff John R. Isom has said he agrees that the deputies are underpaid but thinks their protest will have little impact this year.
Difficult budget-cutting sessions this spring reduced the Loudoun tax rate from 88 cents per $100 of assessed value to 85 cents to help offset rising assessments. County officials have said there is no money to raise deputies' pay this year.