Flamboyant and irrepressible as ever, the chairman of the board grins when asked what he expects the biggest issue to be in the 1980s.

"Who knows -- maybe we'll have another drought," he replies. "That was the biggest thing that happened four years ago to that new board -- and no one predicted that."

Speaking more seriously, Herrity says he expects changes in Fairfax which will be beyond the influence of the county board. Adorning the top of that list is inflation.

The reality of inflation and the scarcity of energy are going to dictate changes in the county we can't really imagine yet," Herrity speculates. "The county is financially in an extremely good position. We've got a triple A bond rating -- one of only nine counties in the country to have one.

"In order to stay financially sound, we have to continue to attract environmentally sound industry. We also have to have less reliance on individual real estate taxes in the county."

Herrity, who is beginning his third term on the board, says he plans to encourage more light industry to locate in Fairfax to provide a broader tax base for the funding of such measures as Metro.

Herrity, a colorful politician who once brought two recycling toilets to the floor of the board room as a display, is now tackling the unpopular bottle ordinance.

This controversial measure, which bans the sale of soft drinks in cans is regarded by many as a nuisance law. Alleging the county loses revenue when people buy canned soft drinks in neighboring jurisdictions, Herrity says he is confident the board will have the five votes necessary to "bag" the ordinance -- a measure the chairman says was the "dumbest" the supervisors have ever passed.

From his office atop the Massey Building in Fairfax City, Herrity can look out over his changing suburban domain. Once a bedroom community for Washington, it is increasingly becoming a community in its own right, he says. More and more people who live in Fairfax County also work in Northern Virginia, he said.

Herrity emphasizes the need for a comprehensive transportation plan and says there is an unmistakable need for good cross-county roads, including the I-66 extension and the Dulles parallel lanes.

"It's estimated that in the next 10 years most of rush hour traffic will be from one side of the county to the other -- rather than into Washington. It's happening already."