Because of an editing error, the first paragraph of a story in Tuesday's editions incorrectly described a memorandum written by Fairfax County Supervisor Audrey Moore. The memorandum was critical of a deputy county executive and his staff.
A memorandum written by Fairfax County Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) accusing a deputy county attorney and his staff dishonesty and manipulation in a report he prepared prompted a strong rebuke yesterday from another supervisor.
In reply to Mrs. Moore's memo, Supervisor Alan H. Magazine (D-Mason) said sarcastically, "Let me start out on a conciliatory note. Her memo is distasteful, abusive and questions the honesty of the entire staff." Magazine called the memo "unforgivable."
Magazine's reply was unusual because the supervisors rarely characterize each other's opinions in public, preferring to confine tough language - when they use it at all - to the executive sessions that are closed to the public and press.
Attacks by the supervisors on the staff are almost as rare, although Mrs. Moore had occasionally accused officials of bringing back inadequate reports or findings, especially on development issues.
The controversy yesterday centered on a report by Samuel A. Finz, deputy county executive for planning and development, which said that county losses on projects left uncompleted by defaulting developers amounted to $765,370.
According to a committee that has been studying changes in the county's requirements that developers post bonds, Fairfax's potential loss largely because of the unrecoverable personal bonds, would be $3,158,509.
The committee, made of both industry officials and private citizens, has recommended that the county no longer expect personal bonds from developers to back up their promises to build streets, sidewalks, gutters and other improvements that are part of counstruction projects. Most of the unfinished projects were backed with personal bonds.
In his report saying the county's loss should be calculated at $765,370, and not $3,158,509, Finz said the lower figure was reached on the basis of criteria listed by the Department of Environmental Management, which oversees the bonding of developers.
Under the criteria, the county would not pay the cost of uncompleted projects where 1) corporate bond exists and litigation is pending, 2) the uncompleted project is not residental and 3) litigation is pending and/or there is a possibility the projects could be completed by the defaulting developer or by another developer.
In an interview, Finz said, "We're not saying that the number ($3,158,509) is incorrect or might not be a loss to the county. We're saying the $765,370 is top priority."
There are 12 projects considered top priority identified by Finz. They are in nine residential areas and affect 668 homeowners.
In her memo issued yesterday, Mrs. Moore, commenting on the Finz report, said, "I am shocked that such manipulation would continue to be countenanced in view of the gravity of the situation." Of the third criterion cited by Finz in limiting the county's loss, she said: "This is . . . obviously dishonest."
Mrs. Moore has been a strong critic of bonding procedures in Fairfax, which is the only developing jurisdiction that has permitted personal bond to be posted by developers. The committee studying changes in bonding has recommended that the county, in the future, require either cash escrow or corporate surety bonds.