Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


Whadayya mean – snow? After a warmer-than-usual weekend that gave many people an opportunity to rake the leaves they didn’t get to last fall, Monday afternoon’s surprise snow “flurry” looked an awful lot like a real snow storm from my office window. And it felt like it on the way home. Now would be a good time to double-check winter weather preparations, including appropriate warm clothing and outerwear, a good snow/ice scraper in your car, an adequate supply of fuel for your vehicle, and alternate routes for travel. More local safety information can be accessed at www.fairfaxcounty.gov, or log onto www.mwcog.org, for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments tips for the National Capital Region.

Last fall, Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin announced that he will retire from his position in April. Tony has served the county ably since 1989, and has been County Executive for the past 12 years, an extraordinary record in local government. The Board of Supervisors will hire the next county executive, and is seeking citizen comment through an on-line survey. Your ideas and thoughts will advise Board members about what qualities and experiences it should look for in candidates who will be identified through a national search, as well as issues and challenges facing the next county executive.

The county executive leads the day-to-day operations of county government, prepares the annual budget, fosters partnerships with residents, business, and community leaders, identifies strategic issues facing the county, and encourages cross-departmental and regional collaboration.

The on-line survey has 19 questions or comment blocks, and is anonymous. You can participate on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov, and click on County Executive Search Survey in the upper center of the home page. Survey results are requested by January 16, although I am working to extend that deadline until January 23.

The Board of Supervisors began its new term on Tuesday with appointments of Board members to a variety of local, regional, and state bodies. It is my privilege and honor to serve as the Board’s vice chairman once again. The vice chairman may represent the county at events when the chairman is not available, and also presides at Board meetings on those rare occasions when Chairman Bulova is out of the room. The Board also appointed interjurisdictional committees, and representatives to various regional and state bodies. I was reappointed chairman of both the Arlington and Falls Church interjurisdictional committees. Other members of both committees are Chairman Bulova, Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth, and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, whose districts abut the Little City. Perhaps one of the most dramatic changes was the loss of a Fairfax County alternate seat on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay had served with distinction as an alternate on the Metro Board, but the county had to surrender that seat when Virginia Governor McDonnell insisted that Virginia’s Metro funding was dependent on his ability to appoint his own choices (two) to the Metro board. Supervisor McKay will be an alternate to the Northern Virginia Transportation Committee (NVTC), which some state staff in Richmond have targeted for phase-out.

Fairfax County’s significant role as the most populous county, and the economic engine in the region and the Commonwealth, is well represented by the Board’s service on regional and statewide bodies, ably assisted by senior staff who provide technical expertise about sometimes esoteric issues of policy and governance.



Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov