National News

Leahy, Welch, Sanders want ‘locality pay’ boost for federal employees in Windsor, Orange counties

Little-known federal benefit hikes pay $43% in San Francisco area

Areas in bright green receive the highest locality pay salary increase.

By Guy Page

Vermont federal workers in Orange and Windsor counties and two neighboring New Hampshire counties deserve “locality pay,” a little-known pay bump available to federal employees living in high-cost areas, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Sen.-Elect Peter Welch say. 

At present, most of Vermont, including Windsor (Welch’s home county) and Orange counties, qualify for location-based pay of about 16%, which is in the “rest of U.S.” category. Chittenden and Franklin counties merit slightly higher 17% locality pay.

Nationwide, locality pay rises as high as 42.74% (San Francisco area). Many large metro areas receive 30+% locality pay. Closer by, northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire and Maine both qualify for a 30% increase in federal paychecks, due to location. 

Federal workers in Windsor and Orange Counties in Vermont, and Grafton and Sullivan County in New Hampshire, face gaps with their private sector equivalents and nearby federal employees due to categorization as “rest-of-U.S.” Employees who work for the White River Junction VA and the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab have strongly advocated for the change, a Nov. 17 press release from Sen. Patrick Leahy said.

Leahy, Sanders, and Welch have signed a letter endorsing locality pay for the four counties. The letter went to the Federal Salary Council, an entity charged with considering concerns of Federal employees and making recommendations “to maintain a competitive and competent Federal Workforce,” Leahy said. 

“The 1,260 federal employees in Vermont and New Hampshire work hard every day to serve our communities,” Welch said. “By adding these federal workers to locality pay areas, we can make sure that they will be able to keep pace with higher costs and continue to serve our country in the years to come.”

Added Leahy: “These Federal employees are dedicated, hardworking Vermonters, who so many Americans rely on to take care of family and loved ones. We need to take care of them too, and instituting locality pay would be an important step in that direction.”

Sanders said it’s all about Vermonters getting their fair share. 

“Too many Vermont federal employees – who show up every day to serve their fellow Vermonters, including providing essential veterans’ health care – are struggling to afford basic needs like housing, child care, and transportation to work,” Vermont’s soon-to-be senior senator said. “Many have been forced to leave the jobs they love, while many others, who want to serve their community, cannot afford to take the job in the first place. Let’s be clear: This is unacceptable, for the workers themselves and for the Vermont communities they serve. It’s time to establish a locality pay area so these Vermont federal workers can receive a fair wage for their important public service.”

The following average salaries for VA employees were sourced from

Pathologist – $226,963

Physical Therapist (PT) – $86,358

Physician/Doctor, Radiologist – $337,219

Project Manager – $80,518

Provider Relations Specialist – $53,561

Psychiatrist – $261,966

Radiology Technologist – $77,191

According to, Windsor County has a 101.7 Cost of Living score, compared to a national average of 100. Orange County has a 93.3 score. Vermont overall has a 100.8 score. 

Categories: National News

8 replies »

  1. When I was in government service one year our representatives bragged about there not being a general Federal pay raise. Then they introduced location pay for high cost locations. Interestingly, All locations had a location allowance. This allowance also carries over to retirement pay where ever the retiree locates.

    Also, I find interesting the cherry picked examples of poor underpaid Federal employees.

    The usual smoke and mirrors.

  2. It’s good to be workinforthegovment ain’t it? Pony up citizens…pay your fair share.

  3. Unless you are a whistleblower or a Republican or someone who gets discriminated against then they will say you never worked for them.

  4. UNREAL…..The nerve, the arrogance when middle income, fixed income are footing the bill…….a self payraise……..those who would receive ought to sound off on this when those paying the wages (we the people) cannot afford home heating fuel…….

  5. Right, rob Peter to pay Paul. Same old, same old. Anyone having difficulty living on the wages cited should try living on Social Security. There’s no locality pay boost for SS recipients. No, they have to get themselves to local food shelves, walking if necessary when they can’t afford gas. No free cell phones either …can’t imagine illegal aliens complying with that, but evidently the politicians think they’re honorable.

  6. The next thing these stooges will be advocating is $1200 per month for transgenders …. What will be the test for that every month? We used to have to prove we went looking for work.
    What’s the rainbow flag got now, something like 47 colors?
    At some point we’re going to say the heck with this foolish liberality.

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