Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpThe New Year also signals the beginning of a new term for the Board of Supervisors, which includes, for the first time in nearly seven years, new members. Kathy Smith (D-Sully) and Dan Storck (D-Mt. Vernon) were elected in November to succeed retiring members Mike Frey and Gerry Hyland who, together, had 52 years of experience serving on the board. With new members also comes reorganization of the board, as members are appointed to chair committees and represent Fairfax County on a myriad of local and regional boards, authorities and commissions.

Under Fairfax County’s system, all 10 board members serve on all standing committees – Budget, Development Process, Environment, 50+, Housing, Human Services, Information Technology, Legislative, Personnel, Public Safety, Revitalization, Transportation – and each committee is chaired by an individual board member. Meetings usually are held quarterly, and are open to the public. While the Virginia General Assembly is in session, Legislative Committee meetings are held weekly, and the Lines of Business agenda for the Budget Committee this year anticipates full day meetings twice a week through June. The Board’s Audit Committee and Economic Advisory Commission both include board members and appointed community members.

In addition to regular board committees, board members are appointed to represent Fairfax County on 22 other boards and commissions, ranging from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which appoints members to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (the Metro Board) and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Board. Board members also serve on 10 other interjurisdictional committees that meet on an as needed basis – Arlington/Fairfax, Falls Church/Fairfax, Alexandria/Fairfax, Herndon/Fairfax, Vienna/Fairfax, George Mason University/Fairfax, etc. A complete list of committees may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/board-committees/. The list will be updated following Tuesday’s reorganization.

Another step forward in making Fairfax County a premier location for world-class medical care was realized this week when the new state-of-the-art Inova Women’s Hospital was dedicated on the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus on Gallows Road in Falls Church. The new, 12-story facility features all private rooms, labor and delivery rooms, and a 108-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, along with operating rooms and other amenities. The new patient rooms are larger, and include space for family members to stay overnight with the patient. The Women’s Hospital will be the largest and most advanced facility for women’s health in the mid-Atlantic region.

The original Fairfax Hospital welcomed its first patient, a woman in labor, just hours before it opened officially in 1961. Twenty-six years later, in 1987, a new Women and Children’s Hospital Center opened, with two young women born at the original hospital as special guests. This week, 29 years after that ceremony, the facility that opened this week probably would have been viewed as fantastic science fiction in the first two iterations, but just what the patients and their families expect today. As one of the speakers noted, “whatever brings you to the Inova Women’s Hospital, we want you to leave healthy and happy.”


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


  • Penny Gross

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