VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — City employees and first responders in Virginia Beach are celebrating a big win!
“It is something that public safety, especially police and fire, we have been after for decades,” said Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association President Brian Luciano.
On Tuesday, Virginia Beach City Council members approved a nearly $2.5 billion net budget for the new fiscal year. It includes $32 million to create a step pay plan system for a majority of the city’s workforce.
“That is common in public safety, so quite honestly, the fact that we didn’t have that has been detrimental in our recruitment and retention,” Luciano said.
The new pay system will increase an employee's pay based on their position and years of service. Luciano said pay predictability is something first responders in the city craved.
“You can look at the step plan, and you can look at where you are starting, where you are ending up and there is a blueprint of how you are going to get there,” Luciano said.
The new scale covers most of the city's general workforce too.
“This is a major victory in the overall battle,” said Virginia Beach City Workers Union organizer Charles Brown. “I think it gives more clarity of folks being able to have a say in how they advance.”
The budget also sets a citywide $15 minimum wage. Brown said it’s a start.
“That is really the floor,” Brown said. “If we were keeping up with inflation, it would be more than this. I think just asking for that as the minimum, it is really just asking for what long overdue at this point is."
Virginia Beach City leaders said their goal is to get the new step pay scale implemented by July 1.