If Egyptian President Anwar Sadat can approach Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin to seek a resolution to their three-decade old problems, then surely Fairfax County and Fairfax City can renegotiate a settlement of their difficulties.
This was the global anaology used yesterday by Fairfax County supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) to explain why the two Northern Virginia jurisdictions should try again to work out new contracts for services the county provides the city.
After eight months of negotiations that broke down in October, the county notified the city last month it would eventually cancel services like schools, fire and rescue protection, libraries and sewage treatment unless the city paid more for them. In retaliation, the city voted last week to create its own school system, a move that would force the relocation of about 300 Fairfax County teachers and administrators who now work in seven city schools.
State Sen. Adelard L. Brault (D.-Fairfax) and Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R.-Fairfax) walked into the stalemate yesterday, asking the county board "to at least sit down and talk with people from the city council."
The two state legislators then gathered seven members from the county board and city council around a lunch table and formed committees to start renegotiating the service contracts. The county says it provides the city with $8.2 million in services annually, a sum it says is too small to keep up with inflation.
"Staff members had been doing all the negotiating before, and that's fine and well until it doesn't work," Brault said. "Now it's time for the local elected officials to try to straighten this out. After all, they had a responsibility to the citizens."