Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpFollowing a national search, Fairfax County has a new County Executive. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Board of Supervisors announced the selection of Bryan J. Hill as the next County Executive. He succeeds Edward L. Long, Jr., who retired in September after 40 years of county service, including more than five as County Executive. Mr. Hill currently is the James City County (Virginia) administrator, and previously was deputy county administrator in Beaufort County, South Carolina. He has some familiarity with the Washington metropolitan area, as he was the director of finance for the University of Maryland’s Office of Information and Technology. Mr. Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Alfred University in New York, and a master’s degree in the same subject from the University of Southern California.

When asked about Mr. Hill’s work in James City County, Board Chairman Kevin Onizuk said that Mr. Hill demonstrated hard-charging leadership, finance and budget expertise, and forward thinking, as well as teamwork, outstanding personal integrity, and strong character. One trait not mentioned was his sense of humor, which was quite apparent during the Board’s discussions with him about the position. He also is fond of sports analogies, probably stemming from his days as point guard for Alfred University’s men’s basketball team. He also coaches community basketball, so he will have lots of opportunities to work with kids in Fairfax County – if he has time! His new job starts January 2.

Selecting a County Executive is the most important hire the Board of Supervisors undertakes. Working with a consultant, Board members reviewed dozens of applications, selected several talented candidates for interviews, and participated fully in the lengthy selection process. As chairman of the Board’s Personnel Policy Committee, I especially look forward to working with the new County Executive on issues of important to our county workforce.

While some General Assembly election results still may be decided by the courts, Fairfax County is moving forward with its legislative agenda for the new General Assembly session, which will begin on January 10, just a few days before Governor-elect Ralph Northam is inaugurated on January 13. Each year, delegates and senators in Richmond are reminded that Fairfax County’s role in the Commonwealth is huge, not just in terms of wealth and population, but also in terms of need. More funding from the state could support increasing teacher salaries, provide healthcare for uninsured residents, and increase availability of mental and behavioral health services. Additional funding for the Virginia Department of Transportation also is needed to address the backlog of paving needed for our neighborhood streets. The Board’s draft legislative agenda can be viewed at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk-committees.

The 22nd annual Mason District Holiday Town Gathering will be held on Monday, December 11, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, in Annandale. Live musical entertainment will be provided by The Chris Johnston Trio, and the evening will feature door prizes and refreshments, as well as my annual State of Mason District report. I look forward to seeing you there.


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