Gerald W. Hopkins, the embattled chairman of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said yesterday that he plans to relinquish his post as chairman tonight and that he has not decided whether to seek reappointment to the housing authority.
Several members of the Board of Supervisors have said that Hopkins lacks the votes to win reappointment by the board to the housing authority when his term is up next month.
Dropping Hopkins would be a symbolic gesture indicating the supervisors' displeasure with the housing authority, they said.
"He epitomizes the fight between the two bodies," said Supervisor Thomas M. Davis (R-Mason).
"The housing authority and the staff have caused a number of supervisors embarrassment, even those who support public housing . . . . We want to continue to support the county's housing policy," Davis said, "but to put distance between the board and the housing authority's mistakes."
Attempts by the housing authority to establish public housing in several communities throughout the county have caused protests from citizens who do not want low-income tenants in their neighborhoods and who have accused the authority of being arrogant.
"This is an election year and housing is an issue which polarizes folks," said Hopkins, who has served on the authority for 11 years and has been chairman for more than 10 years.
"So they the supervisors can say: 'We're keeping the authority under control by not reappointing the chairman,' " he said.
"It would be politically attractive and would help get votes from people fearful of low- and moderate-income housing in their neighborhoods."
The Redevelopment and Housing Authority is scheduled to hold its annual meeting tonight to elect a chairman. Hopkins, a minister and an attorney, said he has informed other commissioners that he does not wish to be reelected to the post.
Supervisor James Scott (D-Providence), a close ally of Hopkins, said he will submit Hopkins' name for reappointment to the commission, if Hopkins would like to continue in the part-time position, which pays $35 a meeting.