Fairfax County expected to name former deputy as county executive, document says

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly calculated County Executive Edward L. Long Jr.’s years of service based on inaccurate information supplied by the county. Long joined Fairfax County in 1977, not 1989. Rather, he became the director of the Department of Management and Budget in 1989. This version has been corrected.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has settled on Edward L. Long Jr., a former deputy county executive and chief financial officer, to succeed County Executive Anthony H. Griffin, and plans to appoint him as early as the board’s meeting Tuesday, according to a document obtained Friday by The Washington Post.

Long, 59, of Centreville, retired last May but returned to the county soon afterward to oversee its transition to a new computerized procurement and accounting system called FOCUS.

Griffin, who turned 65 this month, announced last year that he intended to retire this month after more than a decade as the county’s top manager.

The board arrived at a consensus this week that Long would be the next chief executive to manage the day-to-day affairs of Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction, according to a county official who spoke on condition of anonymity because no official action has been taken. The official said the board had interviewed about a dozen candidates, including two internal candidates and several others recruited through a nationwide search. No contract has been negotiated or signed, and the board has not taken a vote.

Board Chairman Sharon S. Bulova (D) said she would neither confirm nor deny the report that Long has been chosen.


Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin is set to step down as county executive in April. (Sarah L. Voisin/THE WASHINGTON POST)

“Our board has had some excellent discussions regarding the county executive, and we’re hopeful to be able to select someone who will be a great successor to Tony,” she said Friday.

Griffin’s last day as county executive is April 24, which is when the board will make its final markup on the fiscal 2013 budget. As manager of the county’s affairs, Griffin oversees an organization with a total budget of nearly $7 billion and about 12,000 employees.

Long joined the county in 1977 and has a deep knowledge of its budgetary procedures and finances, having been through, by his count, at least 33 budgets. In an online forum about the fiscal 2012-2014 budget outlook, Long said that assembling the budget had been “especially challenging” because it was the fourth consecutive year of budget reductions.

“As the county budget shrinks each year, identifying cuts becomes much more difficult,” Long wrote, adding that because of Virginia’s limits on local power, finding new revenue is challenging. As a state that follows the Dillon Rule, local jurisdictions may only exercise those powers expressly granted by the state legislature, including taxation authority. “Without the Dillon Rule, the county would be able to adjust the revenue stream to address the unique requirements of Fairfax County as opposed to other jurisdictions throughout the state,” Long wrote.

Long entered the county’s Deferred Retirement Option Program and retired in May at the age of 58 after nearly 35 years of service, with a salary of more than $195,040. He returned the next month as ­FOCUS project executive sponsor, earning between $95,472 and $143,208 a year. He is eligible for limited health-care benefits.

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