Fairfax's John F. Herrity is in the soup, but he's not exactly sure how he got there.

In what he considered a fairly routine matter late Tuesday afternoon, Herrity, chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, announced that an agreement had been reached with Cheaspeake and Potomac Telephone Co. that would save about 1,400 Springfield residents almost $9 monthly on their phone bills.

No big deal, right?


No sooner had one of Herrity's aides called around to the local media to get out the good word than two Fairfax political figures -- one Democrat and one Republican -- were yelping that the phone company move was their victory, not Herrity's and they should get the credit.

"I'm very angry at him," said Springfield Supervisor Marie B. Travesky, a Republican. "I felt he was a little underhanded. He was not at all -- not in any way -- involved in this."

Gladys B. Keating, a Democratic state delegate from southern Fairfax, also was fuming. "We've been working on this for over two years," she said. "You don't always get applauded for the things that you've accomplished in politics, and that's okay. But you don't like to see other people applauded for things you've done."

The incident underscores what every suburban politician must know: It pays to toot your own horn -- usually. For Herrity, who makes a point of warming up to local reporters, it was a rude -- and unexpected -- kick in the pants.

Herrity said yesterday that he had worked on the issue in 1973 or 1974 when he held the Springfield district seat on the board and he acknowledged that Travesky and Keating "for the last few years have been carrying the ball."

Herrity, for his part, was nonplused over the flap. "There's no storm as far as I'm concerned," he insisted. He said the announcements by his office were routine and that he was not trying to take credit for the C&P switch.

The C&P change will allow about 1,400 residents of the Orange Hunt II subdivison to make toll-free calls to a number of nearby Maryland locales, including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville and Hyattsville. Currently, the residents pay an $8.95 monthly charge for telephone access to parts of suburban Maryland.

The change now goes to the State Corporation Commission for what is expected to be routine approval.