I really don’t understand the appeal of Gerry Connolly. He’s overbearing, ineffective and generally seems to be a tool. There are lots of good reasons not to support him in his bid for Congress. Similarly, there are lots of good reasons to support Leslie Byrne, starting with her strong stand on Iraq. But smearing Connolly is not a good way to go about supporting Leslie.
Now, I know, many people will say “that’s just Ben Tribbet.” But actively accusing a public official of discriminating against the police is a very serious charge. And Ben’s charge simply doesn’t hold up.
Across the region there is a consistent disparity in the average salaries of police and firefighters. According to a salary search on Indeed.com, the average Arlington police officer makes $46,000 while the average firefighter makes $49,000. In Loudoun, the average police officer makes $41,000 while the average firefighter makes $44,000. In Prince William the average officer is at $47,000 while the average firefighter is at $50,000. The Fairfax numbers on Indeed.com are $47,000 for a cop and $49,000 for a firefighter. They’re a little different than the numbers cited by the Post, but not that different.
I don’t know why there is a consistent disparity between firefighters and cops, but there is. I’d guess it has something to do with the increase medical training needed to work as a firefighter, but it could well have something to do with the number of people willing to work as cops/firefighters in a relatively safe area like Northern Virginia. It could well be what the Post attributed it to, that the firefighters have a stronger union. But whatever it is, I’m fairly sure that it’s not because the Fairfax County police department charged Gerry Connolly with a misdemeanor a few years ago. And given the data, to suggest otherwise is nothing but a cheap political smear.