Council adopts military pay ordinance

Manassas has joined a growing number of localities supplementing the income of government workers called to serve in the National Guard and military reserves.

Last week, the City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance to make up the difference between military pay and what city workers normally make.

“We want to make sure there isn’t more hardship than there already is,” said City Manager Lawrence Hughes.

Of the 11 National Guard members and reservists working for the city, only one has been activated at this time.

Manassas Police Officer Lowell Nevill, 30, doubts the National Guard unit he is a member of will be activated. With a rank of captain, he would make more money if it was.

This isn’t the case, however, with other city workers. The local government’s decision to supplement their pay, Nevill said, is an important one.

“It can definitely help,” he said. “They can rest assured that the spouse they’re leaving behind can pay the bills.”

Prince William County has been doing the same thing for its employees since late 2001. Manassas Park has yet to put such a measure in place.

Only last week, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner signed an executive order supplementing the pay of state workers called to active duty.

“It is right, indeed imperative, that our commonwealth support our state employees who have been called to active duty, fighting in the cause of freedom,” he said.

As for Nevill, he expects to be activated eventually, whether it is in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea or providing homeland security at home.

He’s making sure his finances are in order. He’s glad there are relatives living in the area who will be able to keep in touch with his wife and 3-year-old son while he is gone.

For now, he’s trying to make every minute count when he’s with his loved ones.

“It feel fortunate to appreciate the comforts of every day life,” he said. “I feel kind of guilty that I’m not suffering over there with (the troops).”

Staff writer Chris Newmarker can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 119.

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