Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

The Board of Supervisors bade farewell on Monday to three colleagues who will not be returning to the Board next year. Springfield District Supervisor Elaine McConnell and Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman chose not to seek re-election, and Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois was not re-elected on November 6. Board Chairman Gerry Connolly presented all three Board members with lengthy resolutions that were both serious and playful about their service to the people of Fairfax County.

Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois was elected to the Board in 2003, but she was not a stranger to the workings of the county. A staff member for former Supervisors Nancy Falck (R-Dranesville) and Bob Dix (R-Hunter Mill), Joan also served as the Dranesville Planning Commissioner for several years before seeking elective office herself. In her four years on the Board, Joan distinguished herself as a hard-working, pleasant, professional, and non-partisan elected official. At Monday’s Board meeting, Joan remarked that she always considered herself a public servant, not a politician, which may have factored in her defeat!

Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman and I came to the Board at the same time, in the “class” elected in 1995. Dana’s folksy sense of humor, which often provoked groans from other Board members, belied his extraordinary knowledge of regional trans-portation issues. Dana chaired the Metro Board last year during a very difficult time for the transit system, and his expertise will be hard to match. Dana and I worked closely on revitalization issues for our respective districts, and I will miss our partnership, which focused on improving the older commercial areas — Bailey’s, Annandale, and Spring-field — in Fairfax County.

Springfield District Supervisor Elaine McConnell is the “dean” of the Board, retiring after 24 years of serving “her” people. Elaine always referred to her Springfield District constituents as “my people,” and her people sometimes included furry constitu-ents, too. An example — it took an act of the General Assembly to allow Elaine to rescue beavers from sure death at a construction site in Tyson’s Corner and install them on her farm in Page County. Former Chairman Kate Hanley stopped by the Board meeting to welcome Elaine, Dana, and Joan into an informal group she called ORLEO, the Organi-zation of Recovering Local Elected Officials. Kate reported that there are no meetings, no dues, and no responsibilities, but if someone starts waxing eloquently about the effects of stale zoning, Texas T intersections, or sewer laterals, you know they were once a local elected official!

The swearing-in ceremony for the next Board of Supervisors will take place on Wednesday, December 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m., in the Forum of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. Returning Board members will be joined by three new members – John Foust (D-Dranesville), Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), and Jeff McKay (D-Lee). Board terms begin January 1, 2008. Constitutional officers and the Soil and Water Conservation District Board members also will be sworn in. The event is open to the public.

 

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