City of Falls Church’s Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly has indicated she is willing to accept should her colleagues on the City Council select her to serve as mayor for the next two years, and we think it is a splendid idea. The Council will vote on the matter next Monday.
This is nothing against the City’s current mayor David Tarter. There is no question but that he has served for eight years with great distinction, being elected by his colleagues every two years for four terms, tying the record in the Little City for length of service in this role. We expect that Mr. Tarter, if replaced in his role for the next two years, would continue to serve his community as one of seven Council members with the same commitment and talent he has up until now. We have the greatest of admiration and respect for his tireless efforts to this point.
But over the period of his service, Vice Mayor Connelly has shown an equal measure of talent and commitment, and her service has resulted in her regularly being the highest single vote getter of any of the candidates for Council in the last three of her elections. In 2013, she won the most votes with 3,520, in 2017 she won the most votes with 3,715 and in 2021 she won the most votes with 4,303.votes. Each time, her totals have gone further up. It could be the first time in City history that the same person has gained the highest total each time she’s run, and the first time a person who has had the highest total among all the candidates in the race she’s competed in for three consecutive elections has not been rewarded for that achievement by being elected mayor.
Therefore, in our view, the fact that she has accomplished these results consistently over almost a decade has not resulted in her election as mayor could almost be seen as a slight. Moreover, she was joined by the election of two other women this November, Deborah Schantz-Hiscott and Caroline Lian, giving women a majority on the Council for the first time in the history of the City, itself more than justifying Connelly’s election as mayor.
After all, the position of mayor in the City’s form of government is largely symbolic, anyway. The mayor represents the City at countless events and ceremonies, mostly for domestic consumption. To have a woman’s face in all those photo opportunities would better reflect the true nature of the City.
The fact that Connelly also has an ongoing role with the public schools here, being an employee, is even more reason for her to become mayor. She has contributed to the hard-won concord on the Council between the City and its schools and as mayor her role would elevate a wider public perception of the importance that the schools rightly enjoy in the City.