Warren I. Cikins sat alone in his cramped Mount Vernon District office at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, sifting through 600 pages of briefing papers and making notes for his staff on the 14-hour meeting of the Board of Supervisors that had just ended.
The Fairfax County supervisor had ignored his doctor's warning to stay in bed and nurse his bad back. Cikins' face was bleached with fatigue; his back was killing him.
Monday's marathon meeting - a weekly ritual of harangue and bile, of appointments, zonings, sewer discussions, proclamations and corny jokes - was much like every other Monday for Cikins and the eight other members of the board.
They call it "tedious," "tiring," "exasperating" and "not fun".
On Tuesday night, the board decided that a citizen legislator in one of the country's largest and richest counties deserves more than $15,000 a year to endure the Monday madness and the 40-to-80-hour weeks their "part-time" job demands. They voted 8 to 1 to raise board members' salaries by 23 percent on Jan. 1, when a newly elected board is sworn in.
The timing of the raise has been denounced in Fairfax, particularly by county school teachers who want a sizeable raise themselves. But other observers of local government acquainted with the long, often boring hours that the supervisors put in say the raise is fair.
Cikins and Alan H. Magazine (D.Mason) are the only two supervisors not seeking reelection this fall. They also are the only two who hold full-time salaried jobs, and they are getting off the board for the same reason - they are tired of looking at their families and their jobs through bloodshot eyes.
Cikins woke up at 6:45 a.m. Monday and his back didn't hurt too much. Before he drove off on the Capital Beltway for the half-hour trip from Mount Vernon to the board room in Fairfax City, he stopped off a the Groveton District police station for an 8:30 premeeting meeting.
Cikins, 46, a gentle, sometimes pedantic man who works as a senior staff member for the Brookings Institution, gathered two of his staff membes around him and discussed - constitutent complaints for 30 minutes. The Complaints included the so-called "Monster of Mount Vernon," a creature that reportedly awakens Mount Vernon residents with "real loud growls."
At 10:06 a.m., Cikins walked into the dimly lit board room in the basement of the high-rise Massey Building, in Fairfax City. His eight collegues, sitting in high-baccked red leather swivel chairs around a horse-shoe shaped sais, had just finished complaining about the day's heavy schedule.
The Monday routine calls for each supervisor to discuss "board matters" first, which means they talk about anything they want. Supervisor Marie B. Travesky (R-Springfield) spoke of a meeting she had attended dealing with bus routes; while she talked, other supervisors ignored her and chatted. "Is anybody listening? she asked, looking hopefully at the 10 reporters who came to the board meeting in search of stories.
When the nine supervisors finished their board matters (Cikins had nothing to say), Board Chairman John F. Herrity took the floor. Herrity, a Republican who has made himself one of the best known politicians in Northern Virginia by saying things quotatable, said, "When all is said and done, more is said than done."
That statement set the tone fro a day in which the supervisors heard about "the critically of timing" and the "multiplicity of services." They heard angry school teachers, protesting that a proposed 5.15 percent salary increase is insufficient to keep them alive, pounding outside on the windows of the board room. And they heard 23 citizens criticize the proposed 1980 budget.
The 17th speaker, Bruce McCracklin of the Taxpayers' Alliance, told the board that county claims of public support for a proposed budget that will raise the average homeowners' tax bill by $93 are tantamount to saying "the public hanging was supported by the condemned."
All morning and through the afternoon the supervisors plowed their way through the 600-page package, a staff-written report steeped in bureaucratic jargon on such things as road construction and school bonds. Each supervisor studies the three-inch thick document for several hours on Sunday. By the late afternoon, they were ready to take up zoning - highly technical matters affecting growth in the Washington area's fastest growing jurisdiction.
Wit a lone dissenting vote, the supervisors approved the expansion of a "new town" community and the building of a major office building and a town house complex. The 'no' vote was cast by Sueprvisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale), a no-growth advocate who is sometimes called "Saint Audrey of Annandale" by her colleagues.
Moore, also the only supervisor to vote against the pay increase on Tuesday night, is a major source of Monday misery, her fellow supervisors say. They frequently roll their eyes when she speaks and insults are common.
For her part, Moore, a 50-year-old, two-term supervisor with blond hair and darting blue eyes, says she dislikes being disagreeable on growth, but that she wasn't elected to "enjoy myself."
The zoning boredom, as exacerbated by Moore's angry questioning of zoning attorneys, prompted Cikins on Monday to call the afternoon session of the board "one of the most excruciating ordeals in the history of human torture."
The afternoon's torpor gave way, after a 90-minute dinner break, to a public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on the board's salary increase. Police erected barricades outside the board room, and several hundred angry school teachers, claiming the board shouldn't get a bigger rate than they receive, marched on the Massey Building.
Police let 180 people, mostly teachers, into the board room and then closed it. Bob Hicks, president of the Fairfax Education Association, stood at the lectern in front of the supervisors, said the teachers deserved more money and was applauded by the crowd.
Herrity interpreted the applause as "an outburst" and said that if it happened again, he would "clear the room." A few minutes later, when teachers outside began thumping the windows of the board room, Herrity ordered acting County Executive J. Hamilton Lambert to silence the thumping.
When the window-banging stopped, and a parade of speakers finished acccursing the board of "ill-timed" greed for asking for more money, the board room slowly emptied.
At 8:30 p.m., a new parade of speakers began asking for more money for various county programs than is proposed in next year's budget.
Cikins' back was hurting badly and he fidgeted in his chair. Travesky, to keep from falling asleep, stood behind her chair and listened. At that hour, according to a high-lvel county staff member, the board has trouble paying attention and is frequently "giddy."
At 11:07 p.m. - after dealing with the complexities and banalities of county business for 14 hours - the meeting ended.
Cikins drove back to his Mount Vernon district office to pour over his notes "desperately," he said, so as to get home by 1 a.m.
On Tuesday, he went to his full-time job at 8 a.m. CAPTION: Picture, Board Chairman John F. Herrity at meeting: "More is said than done." By John McDonnell - The Washington Post