Memo for fiscal year 2021, updated 2020-02-20

[Archived] Question # 03: Please provide a regional comparison on the City's promotional policy.


The City Manager stated that the City's promotional policy was far more generous than our neighboring jurisdictions, can you provide Council with this regional comparison? (Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker)


The Department of Human Resources in consult with Segal Waters Consulting has confirmed that the City’s drop down promotion policies related to pay increases exceed best practices and the policies of peer organizations.

Prior to 2013 when City Manager Young enacted changes, employees who were promoted received an 8.5% increase plus a transition payment to the next highest step. The City’s current policy changed the way that pay increases are calculated by keeping employee pay at their existing step as long as the increase does not exceed 20% plus placement to the next highest step. The latter means that, if a salary falls between two steps, the employee would be granted the higher step. This method of granting pay as a result of promotion does not consider the employee’s experience, education, or internal equity.  In addition to applying this rule for promotions, the rule that employees can maintain their step is also applied when an employee is granted a career ladder elevation, when an encumbered position is reclassified, and when a classification with encumbered positions is reallocated to a higher grade. 

When compared to peer organizations, the 20% maximum increase is very generous. Table 1 below is a summary of the promotion policies provided by the City of Alexandria’s peer jurisdictions. (See attachment “Peer Promotional Policies” for additional details.)

Table 1. Comparator Jurisdiction Promotion Policies  
Peer Organization Potential Pay Increase Percentage
Arlington County 10%-12%
Fairfax County 5%-15%
Loudoun County At least 5% but can be exceeded based on qualifications
Montgomery County 5%-15%
Prince George’s County Up to 10% (general employee salaries are determined by the HR Director)
Prince William County Salary selection up to midpoint is at manager discretion, with sworn/uniformed employees receiving 5%-10%
City of Alexandria Up to 20%

Given the City’s maximum increase of 20%, employees have the potential of increasing their earnings very quickly as they change positions, regardless of experience, education or internal equity. Employees will also be placed at a higher step on the pay scale, moving them to the top of the pay range faster. An example of an employee’s actual increases over a five-year period is provided below in Table 2.

Table 2. Example – Alexandria Employee Increases Over 5-Year Period

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Attachment 1 – Peer Promotional Policies

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