Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News from Greater Falls Church

Monday was Chairman Gerry Connolly’s final day to preside over the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting before he heads to Capitol Hill to take his seat as the newly elected Congressman from Virginia’s 11th Congressional District.

The Board presented Gerry with what possibly is the longest resolution ever proffered at the dais – 30 “Whereas” clauses before the resolved clause. Each Board member took turns reading the appropriate entries, amidst chuckles and more serious remembrances of Gerry’s nearly 14 years of service on the Board, five as Chairman and nine as Providence District Supervisor. After the resolution was passed (unanimously), a door-sized framed copy, with photos of all five boards from 1995 to the present, was presented for Gerry’s new office in the Cannon House Office Building. Special guests during the presentation were Delegate Jim Scott and Secretary of the Commonwealth Kate Hanley, who also represented the Providence District in past years.

At the same meeting, Chairman Connolly announced his intention to resign from the board at the close of business on Friday, January 2, 2009, in order to assume his new office on January 3. Gerry chose January 2 because he wanted to participate in the county-wide furlough of employees on that day. So, curiously, Gerry’s last day on the county payroll actually will be an unpaid day! The board approved the furlough in October as part of a plan to address revenue shortfalls in the current fiscal year budget.

On my motion Monday, the Board authorized the County Attorney to petition the Fairfax County Circuit Court for a special election on February 3, 2009, to fill the vacancy caused by Gerry’s resignation. Currently, there are three announced candidates running for chairman: long-time Braddock District Supervisor and current Vice Chairman Sharon Bulova (D), freshman Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity (R), and newcomer Carey Campbell (IG). The election for chairman would be held county-wide, and all registered Fairfax County voters may cast a ballot for Chairman. Should either Super-visor win the election, another petition would be filed with the court to establish a special election date for the vacant district supervisor seat. That election probably would be held in early March.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Board completed its annual performance evaluation of County Executive Anthony H. Griffin and County Attorney David Bobzien. All board members participated in the comprehensive process. The board determined that Fairfax County is very well-served by these two outstanding gentlemen but, despite their superior performances, the current fiscal atmosphere precludes any adjustment to their salaries, which will remain frozen at current levels. Both the County Executive and the County Attorney are included in the county’s January 2 furlough of employees.

December 15 marks the final scheduled Lines of Business (LOBs) meeting for this calendar year. Since September, the Board of Supervisors has conducted several day-long meetings with department and agency heads to examine the more than 300 lines of service performed by county staff, in preparation for the exceedingly difficult budget decisions that must be made in the spring for the FY 2010 county budget. At the December 15 meeting, County Executive Tony Griffin is expected to make recommenda-tions for possible reductions in services for the current budget year. Revenue forecasts, especially in reduced sales taxes and cuts in state funding, are estimated at $58 million.