News

Baroukh Elected F.C. Mayor, Snyder Vice Mayor as New Council Sworn In

img_0289Following the swearing in of three new Falls Church City Council members, and the re-swearing in of a fourth entering his fifth term tonight, the F.C. Council elected Nader Baroukh mayor for the next 17 months, and veteran Council member David Snyder vice mayor tonight. The events occured at a special July 1 meeting of the City Council in the Council chambers of the F.C. City Hall before a capacity audience.

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Being sworn in as members of the Falls Church City Council tonight by City Clerk Katherine Clarken Buschow, left, were, l. to r., Johnnah Barry, Ira Kaylin, Ron Peppe and David Snyder (Photo: News-Press)

Following the swearing in of three new Falls Church City Council members, and the re-swearing in of a fourth entering his fifth term tonight, the F.C. Council elected Nader Baroukh mayor for the next 17 months, and veteran Council member David Snyder vice mayor tonight. The events occured at a special July 1 meeting of the City Council in the Council chambers of the F.C. City Hall before a capacity audience.

Baroukh’s victory was by a 5-2 margin over Ron Peppe. Baroukh was nominated by Councilman Lawrence Webb and received votes from Webb, the newly-sworn in Johannah Barry and Ira Kaylin, Snyder and Baroukh, himself. Peppe was nominated by outgonig Mayor Robin Gardner, and got her and his own vote.

For vice mayor, a surprise occured when Webb, who had made known his desire to serve in that position, suddenly withdrew his name from consideration. He said that because his “personal integrity was being attacked” by allegations he may have been offered votes for vice mayor in exchange for his vote for mayor, being elected to that position would “be a living hell for me.” He insisted his only motive in seeking the position was “to make where I live a better place.”

Gardner placed Snyder’s name into nomination, and then made a motion for a 15 minute recess when Kaylin said he wanted more time to consider the ramifications of the suddenly altered options for vice mayor. After the recess, the motion was repeated, and Snyder was elected 5-0, with Kaylin and Barry voting “present.”

Webb, in remarks about why he threw his support to Baroukh, said that despite favoring the independent Baroukh over Peppe, endorsed by the same Citizens for a Better City (CBC) candidate vetting organization that backed him in 2008, “I stand strong and firm with the CBC.” But he then had harsh words for the CBC, saying it “has to do some soul searching,” because “if you fall out of line, you are attacked and your name is dragged through the mud.”

Webb also made comments about “power sharing” between two factions on the Council, which caused Peppe to question the notion. “We all have a vote, with our seven votes we share power equally,” Peppe said. “The important thing is that the process be fair to everyone.”

Upon being elected mayor, Baroukh said, “I intend to be moving the Council in a centrist way for what is best for the city.” Upon his election, Snyder, who served as vice mayor from 1996-98 and mayor from 1998-2000 during his 16-year tenure on the Council. said, “This Council has the capability of greatness,” and articulated words of praise for all his colleagues and for the citizens of the City

Peppe, noting that this morning the Falls Church School Board elected Joan Wodiska as its new chair and Patrick Riccards as its vice-chair, also noted the School Board passed unanimously a “Code of Civility” resolution, and recommended a similar thing for the Council. Mayor Baroukh agreed to place that subject on the new Council’s first work session Tuesday night, along with other matters.

Mayor Baroukh, two-year member of the City Council, is a senior attorney with management duties at the Department of Homeland Security responsible for immigration and national security issues.

Vice Mayor Snyder, who served a previous term as Mayor and Vice Mayor, is beginning his fifth term as a member of the City Council. Snyder is Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for the American Insurance Association, specializing in automobile insurance and other transportation issues, international trade, insurance regulatory issues and legal reform.

Peppe, former School Board Chairman, manages legal affairs and human resources for the U.S. operations of Canam Steel Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of a publicly-traded Canadian company.

Kaylin is the former Chief Financial Risk Officer of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. and also served as the Bank’s Auditor.

Barry is President of Galapagos Conservancy, the only U.S.-based institution exclusively focused on supporting biodiversity conservation in the Galapagos Islands.

Robin Gardner and Lawrence Webb make up the rest of the City Council.