P. David Tarter, first elected to the Falls Church City Council in 2012, was the unanimous choice of his colleagues on the Council to become the new mayor of the Little City Monday night.
His election was the first order of business of a newly-seated Council that included three members freshly elected last November replacing, along with a third, two members who’d been staunch backers of departing Mayor Nader Baroukh in the previous two mayoral elections.
Also by a unanimous vote, veteran Council member David Snyder was re-elected to a second consecutive term as vice mayor.
Tarter, an attorney by day, had been chair of the City’s Economic Development Authority before running and winning a seat on the City Council.
The outcome of the votes had been predetermined Monday night, with positions on the dais already shuffled before the meeting was convened to reflect the new ordering of things. Tarter’s name plate, which had been at the stage-left end of the dais since his first election, had been moved to the mayoral slot in the middle in advance of the meeting being called to order.
“Thanks for your confidence in me,” Tarter said in brief comments following the vote. “Falls Church has a bright future ahead.”
In prepared remarks, provided in writing to the News-Press after their delivery, Baroukh, his name plate moved to the seat directly to the stage-right of the new mayor, outlined 10 actions nearly all achieved, he said, in the context of a “Blueprint for Action” that he and other Council members drafted in 2010 for purposes of doing “a better job of managing our budget and projecting the state of our finances for the future…They were not flashy, but they were very important.”
He also noted that “the water dispute with Fairfax has been settled as a win-win for all parties…This is a momentous issue for the City. The most important change in our generation for the City. We are now positioned to develop this area for the benefit of all City residents. And we now have a stronger relationship with Fairfax County.”
“In conclusion,” he said, “we are in a much better financial situation than we were several years ago. However, we face many challenges.”
Snyder chimed in, “This is going to be a great Council,” and identified personal and professional strengths of every member. He cited an interview he did with the largest newspaper in China about the City’s uniquely high levels of household income, educational level and excellence in its school system. Asked how the City could be so successful without producing a major product, he said he told the reporter that “our product is education and the future.”
“I love this community more and more with every opportunity to serve,” Snyder told his Council colleagues.
Newly-seated Council member Dan Sze, back on the Council for a second four-year term after a three-year-plus hiatus, said, “To those that understood, appreciated and supported the message of great schools, fair taxes, a well-designed City, my heartfelt thanks in returning me to City Council. I won’t let you down.”
`He added, “We have an unprecedented opportunity in the next several years to create smart, sustainable economic development, to demonstrate that ensuring environmental stewardship while supporting the right kind of well-designed development, can achieve both the green of sustainability and revenue generation. This is a concept that I have shown time and again that I am passionate about.”
The only other action of the Council Monday was to adopt a Rules of Procedure resolution for the next two years, which it did unanimously before adjourning to a work session to talk through matters pertaining to new Council appointments to various City and regional boards and commissions.