Dozens of public employees attended a budget work session last week to show their displeasure with the city manager's proposal to increase employee contributions to retirement pensions.
Alexandria Government Employees Association President Brenda D'Silva says her members are unhappy that their paychecks would go down by $50 to $120 for as long as 11 months.
"Unhappy is a kind word, actually. It's disheartening. It's making people frustrated and stressed," she says.
Budget officials say they are responding to increased personnel costs. But that argument isn't holding water for Mike Kochis, president of the Alexandria chapter of the Police Benevolent Association.
"To balance this budget on the backs of police officers and firefighters, it's a hard pill to swallow," he says.
If city council members decide to eliminate the increased contribution for retirement, they would have to find $1.6 million in budget cuts or tax increases.
Michael Pope also reports for Northern Virginia's Connection Newspapers.