Republicans have put up their challenger in the race for commissioner of the revenue in Manassas later this year, after incumbent Douglas Waldron announced he won’t seek re-election.
Stacia Jennings, a U.S. Army reservist and active duty veteran, has announced her candidacy for the position and will be unopposed for the Republican nomination at the local party’s caucus this weekend.
Currently working on starting a real estate business, Jennings said she returned from a tour in Baghdad – where she was working as an intelligence officer for the Army’s Special Operations Joint Task Force – last November and decided she wanted to find a way to serve her city and community. At an event, she learned about the opening for the Commissioner of the Revenue post and thought her background would help her in the role.
As a civilian, she has also worked as a project manager for BAE Systems, where she said she managed the budget for a $50 million contract with the Department of Defense.
“I have a budgeting background, I have a project management background, I’m about to be a real estate agent, so the duties of that position fit into my wheelhouse and I think I can do a really good job,” Jennings told InsideNoVa.
Jennings will face Democrat Tim Demeria, the longest-serving member of the Manassas School Board, in the November general election.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jennings joined the military after graduating from high school and served in the Marine Corps for six years before attending the University of Michigan. She then joined the Army, moved to Northern Virginia in 2004 and finally settled in Manassas in 2016.
Although she is running as a Republican, Jennings said she doesn’t believe partisanship should play a role. “Assessing taxes should be fair; it should not depend on which party I represent … and I want to ensure that the citizens of Manassas can have a transparent view of how their taxes are being assessed.”
The position she and Demeria will vie for also has a new starting salary. At Monday night’s city council meeting, the council adopted a resolution setting a $100,000 starting salary for the city’s two state-mandated constitutional officers: the commissioner of revenue and the treasurer.
Previously, the council would settle on a salary with new officers when they were elected. The state has minimum and maximum salaries for the positions. In a city the size of Manassas, the positions can earn between $80,662 and $133,099 apiece.
“The council would basically have a meeting with them and just make a decision as to what they were going to set those salaries at,” said City Manager Pat Pate. “There’s no magic formula behind it per se; council can set those salaries at whatever level they think is appropriate.”
Under the new resolution, both positions will start at $100,000 and the positions “will be eligible for increases each January, beginning in 2023, subject to the general increases established by City Council for city staff and elected officials.”
If the office-holder completes a state certification for the role, he or she would be eligible for reimbursement from the Virginia Compensation Board and receive an additional $10,000.
Waldron, who’s held the position since 2014, earns a salary of $131,918. Treasurer Patricia Richie-Folks, who took office in 2018, earns $118,830.