The 2016 expansion of localities represents the largest growth in the GS locality pay system since it started two decades ago, but more could be ahead. The council backed creating in January 2017 separate new localities in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Va., and Burlington-South Burlington, Vt., areas. The council did not project how many employees that would benefit, but it could be in the tens of thousands, considering just the federal presence in the Norfolk area. That recommendation now goes to the Pay Agent, but no decision is likely for months. Further, the council repeated recommendations–not approved in the past by the higher-level body–to change the way the boundaries of outlying areas are drawn that could result in further expansion of existing localities. Those changes would benefit some 13,000 employees by attaching their counties to a metropolitan area locality, a salary council document shows. The council also is monitoring more than 40 other city areas to determine whether they might merit their own locality rates in the future, based on their having pay gaps exceeding that of the RUS locality by at least 10 percent for three straight years.