100+ “Rest of U.S.” Locations Recommended for Federal Locality Pay

The Federal Salary Council is recommending evaluation of more than 100 counties and statistical metropolitan areas for inclusion in the locality pay system for federal employees.

In Raising Federal Employee Pay By Expanding Locality Pay Areas, we pointed out two of the ways in which the Federal Salary Council is expanding locality pay areas for federal employees.

As outlined in that article, there are numerous other geographic areas also being recommended for locality pay. The Salary Council lists these as “proposed new areas of application….These locations would be included in separate locality pay areas in addition to locations that will be in separate locality pay areas under the final regulations implementing locality pay areas applicable in January 2016.”

The Salary Council in 2014 recommended changes for adding criteria for evaluating single county “Rest of U.S.” locations that border multiple existing locality pay areas. It also recommended evaluating “Rest of U.S.” locations surrounded largely by higher paying locality pay areas into the locality pay system for inclusion into one of the separate locality pay areas bordering these areas.

Effectively, the Salary Council is recommending expanding locality pay to wide swaths of the United States, including some areas without any or one federal employee working under the General Schedule pay scale. The latest report from the President’s Pay Agent is dated October 23, 2015. The Pay Agent reviews recommendations from the Salary Council and decides if or when to proceed with recommendations.

We anticipate next report from the Pay Agent will be issued about the same time in 2016. The actual decision is up to the President’s Pay Agent. The Pay Agent, which is made up of the Secretary of Labor, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, does not automatically accept the recommendations of the Salary Council. It is not unusual for recommendations to be delayed for a year or more and it is not required that the Pay Agent ever accept the recommendations of the Salary Council. But, when the Salary Council makes a recommendation, it will usually be addressed and seriously considered

More information is available in the latest Salary Council report.

The list below displays “counties qualifying as areas of application under the proposed criteria for single-county locations adjacent to multiple locality pay areas and not qualifying under other criteria as areas of application.”

LocationSingle-County Metropolitan AreaAdjacent Locality Pay AreasCommutingRecommended Locality Pay AreaGS Employees
La Paz County, AZN/ALas Vegas,Los Angeles, and PhoenixLas Vegas, 7.85%; Los Angeles, 14.68%; Phoenix, 1.11%Los Angeles214
Imperial County, CAEl Centro, CA Metropolitan Statistical AreaLos Angeles and San DiegoLos Angeles, 4.74%; San Diego, 3.18%Los Angeles2,016
Lake County, CAClearlake, CA Micropolitan Statistical AreaSacramento and San FranciscoSacramento, 0.69%; San Francisco, 19.99%San Francisco87
Lincoln County, CON/AColorado Springs and DenverColorado Springs, 7.81%; Denver 16.35%Denver3
Holmes County, OHN/ACleveland and ColumbusCleveland, 19.85%; Columbus, 2.67%Cleveland12
Schuylkill County, PAPottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical AreaHarrisburg, New York, and PhiladelphiaHarrisburg, 9.15%; Philadelphia, 11.21%;
New York, 10.43%
Fayette County, TXN/AAustin and HoustonAustin, 11.53%; Houston, 12.95%Houston7
Westmoreland County, VAN/ARichmond and WashingtonRichmond, 6.31%; Washington 27.69%Washington, DC16

Adjacent “Rest of U.S.” Single Counties with 20 Percent or Higher Commuting

There are more than 100 counties in the U.S. in which the Salary Council indicates qualify “as areas of application under the proposed criteria for adjacent counties that are not part of a CBSA (Core-Based Statistical Area) or comprise a single-county micropolitan area….” Here is a listing of these counties, some of which have only one federal employee working under the General Schedule.

Pay AreaPlace NameEmployment InterchangeGS EmployeesFeb 2013 Metro Status
ALBANYGreene Co. NY49.84%3Not in a metro area
ALBANYHamilton Co. NY35.44%3Not in a metro area
ALBUQUERQUEMora Co. NM49.32%20Not in a metro area
ALBUQUERQUESocorro Co. NM21.41%109Not in a metro area
ATLANTABanks Co. GA78.97%1Not in a metro area
ATLANTACleburne Co. AL35.09%19Not in a metro area
ATLANTAFranklin Co. GA25.87%0Not in a metro area
ATLANTAGilmer Co. GA27.53%37Not in a metro area
ATLANTAGreene Co. GA36.49%4Not in a metro area
ATLANTAHabersham Co. GA22.78%35Cornelia, GA Single County Micropolitan Statistical Area
ATLANTALumpkin Co. GA66.59%33Not in a metro area
ATLANTAPutnam Co. GA24.03%29Not in a metro area
ATLANTARandolph Co. AL25.94%7Not in a metro area
ATLANTATalbot Co. GA37.18%1Not in a metro area
ATLANTATaliaferro Co. GA25.81%0Not in a metro area
ATLANTAWhite Co. GA38.88%0Not in a metro area
AUSTINBlanco Co. TX26.16%34Not in a metro area
AUSTINBurnet Co. TX21.70%22Not in a metro area
AUSTINLee Co. TX29.18%1Not in a metro area
BOSTONCarroll Co. NH25.68%45Not in a metro area
BOSTONCheshire Co. NH20.23%32Keene, NH Single County Micropolitan Statistical Area
BUFFALOWyoming Co. NY43.43%6Not in a metro area
CHARLOTTEAnson Co. NC40.49%4Not in a metro area
CHARLOTTEChesterfield Co. SC22.22%16Not in a metro area
CHICAGOIroquois Co. IL34.28%2Not in a metro area
CHICAGOStarke Co. IN31.19%8Not in a metro area
CINCINNATIAdams Co. OH33.24%2Not in a metro area
CINCINNATIFleming Co. KY24.45%9Not in a metro area
CINCINNATIHighland Co. OH38.65%15Not in a metro area
CINCINNATILewis Co. KY21.70%1Not in a metro area
CINCINNATIOwen Co. KY34.26%3Not in a metro area
CINCINNATIRipley Co. IN35.58%8Not in a metro area
CINCINNATIRobertson Co. KY41.90%0Not in a metro area
CINCINNATISwitzerland Co. IN48.70%3Not in a metro area
CLEVELANDHarrison Co. OH32.01%7Not in a metro area
CLEVELANDWayne Co. OH35.51%67Wooster, OH Single County Micropolitan Statistical Area
COLUMBUSCoshocton Co. OH20.80%9Coshocton, OH Single County Micropolitan Statistical Area
COLUMBUSHardin Co. OH22.92%7Not in a metro area
COLUMBUSMorgan Co. OH34.49%1Not in a metro area
COLUMBUSNoble Co. OH43.65%0Not in a metro area
COLUMBUSPike Co. OH35.41%28Not in a metro area
COLUMBUSVinton Co. OH35.30%3Not in a metro area
DALLASAtoka Co. OK22.09%12Not in a metro area
DALLASBosque Co. TX22.98%24Not in a metro area
DALLASFranklin Co. TX24.38%2Not in a metro area
DALLASHill Co. TX34.42%18Not in a metro area
DALLASJack Co. TX40.87%2Not in a metro area
DALLASLove Co. OK42.88%4Not in a metro area
DALLASMontague Co. TX40.64%5Not in a metro area
DALLASRains Co. TX60.24%0Not in a metro area
DALLASVan Zandt Co. TX44.75%9Not in a metro area
DAVENPORTCedar Co. IA33.40%44Not in a metro area
DAVENPORTJackson Co. IA25.88%8Not in a metro area
DAVENPORTLouisa Co. IA37.26%25Not in a metro area
DETROITSanilac Co. MI40.48%5Not in a metro area
DETROITTuscola Co. MI25.43%19Not in a metro area
HARRISBURGJuniata Co. PA31.04%17Not in a metro area
HOUSTONColorado Co. TX37.28%9Not in a metro area
HOUSTONGrimes Co. TX39.90%4Not in a metro area
HOUSTONPolk Co. TX24.34%12Not in a metro area
HUNTSVILLELincoln Co. TN31.04%5Not in a metro area
INDIANAPOLISBlackford Co. IN31.03%1Not in a metro area
INDIANAPOLISFountain Co. IN26.59%2Not in a metro area
INDIANAPOLISParke Co. IN23.11%10Not in a metro area
INDIANAPOLISRandolph Co. IN28.33%2Not in a metro area
INDIANAPOLISRush Co. IN71.71%1Not in a metro area
INDIANAPOLISTipton Co. IN41.34%0Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYAnderson Co. KS34.15%3Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYBrown Co. KS21.90%19Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYCarroll Co. MO26.42%5Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYDaviess Co. MO42.57%8Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYGentry Co. MO24.10%4Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYHenry Co. MO30.16%16Not in a metro area
KANSAS CITYHolt Co. MO30.21%9Not in a metro area
MIAMIGlades Co. FL32.30%8Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISKanabec Co. MN47.01%8Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISMeeker Co. MN59.92%16Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISMorrison Co. MN34.80%164Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISPepin Co. WI20.22%2Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISPine Co. MN31.52%208Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISPolk Co. WI40.90%29Not in a metro area
MINNEAPOLISSteele Co. MN21.01%3Owatonna, MN Single County Micropolitan Statistical Area
NEW YORKSullivan Co. NY37.72%32Not in a metro area
NEW YORKWayne Co. PA23.29%360Not in a metro area
PITTSBURGHGreene Co. PA47.24%33Not in a metro area
PORTLANDWahkiakum Co. WA41.47%4Not in a metro area
RALEIGHCaswell Co. NC22.56%0Not in a metro area
RALEIGHWarren Co. NC54.84%2Not in a metro area
RICHMONDEssex Co. VA29.45%4Not in a metro area
RICHMONDGreensville Co. VA26.60%0Not in a metro area
RICHMONDNottoway Co. VA41.63%166Not in a metro area
RICHMONDSurry Co. VA37.26%0Not in a metro area
SACRAMENTOAlpine Co. CA23.95%11Not in a metro area
SACRAMENTOAmador Co. CA27.67%47Not in a metro area
SACRAMENTOColusa Co. CA29.31%38Not in a metro area
SACRAMENTOSierra Co. CA22.54%39Not in a metro area
SAN FRANCISCOCalaveras Co. CA27.38%56Not in a metro area
SEATTLEGrays Harbor Co. WA22.97%38Aberdeen, WA Single County Micropolitan Statistical Area
ST. LOUISGasconade Co. MO33.97%1Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISGreene Co. IL32.10%4Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISIron County, MO37.54%0Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISMadison Co. MO35.36%0Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISMontgomery Co. IL32.81%26Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISMontgomery Co. MO38.95%3Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISPike Co. MO21.75%9Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISRandolph Co. IL34.63%16Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISSte. Genevieve Co. MO50.27%2Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISWashington Co. IL47.32%7Not in a metro area
ST. LOUISWashington Co. MO63.99%22Not in a metro area
WASHINGTON, DCCaroline Co. MD67.01%6Not in a metro area
WASHINGTON, DCFulton Co. PA51.64%2Not in a metro area
WASHINGTON, DCMadison Co. VA38.46%19Not in a metro area
WASHINGTON, DCOrange Co. VA58.33%11Not in a metro area
WASHINGTON, DCPage Co. VA24.26%100Not in a metro area
WASHINGTON, DCShenandoah Co. VA40.48%48Not in a metro area

When action is taken by the President’s Pay Agent later this year, we will advise readers on their decisions that impact locality pay.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47