Gerald W. Hopkins, who for more than 10 years headed the controversial Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, withdrew his name from consideration for reappointment yesterday, in part to deprive county supervisors of the opportunity to kick him off the agency's board.
An increasing number of supervisors have been critical of the housing authority in recent months, as public pressure over certain public housing projects threatened to become an issue in their fall campaigns. Several supervisors had indicated that the board would have voted against reappointing Hopkins, as a gesture of their dissatisfaction with the authority.
"My symbolic gesture is that I did not give them the opportunity to do that," Hopkins, a minister and attorney, said in an interview.
Hopkins, who joined the authority 11 years ago and was elected chairman a few months later, stepped down as chairman last month, but the move only slightly lessened the board's opposition to him. Supervisor James Scott, a Democrat from the Providence District, announced yesterday that Hopkins, who in 1978 received the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission's annual award, would not seek reappointment.
"I've been on the board for over 11 years. I think that's long enough. I think it's time for somebody else to have a crack at it," Hopkins said. He said his job with Consumers United Insurance Co. in the District has prevented him from spending more time on the authority's activities.
The supervisors accepted Hopkins' decision and then voted to award him a certificate of appreciation. The board also voted to appoint John Castellani, a resident of Great Falls and director of federal relations for TRW Inc., to Hopkins' seat.
Republican Chairman John F. Herrity, an outspoken critic of the authority, said Hopkins' decision did not surprise him. "He didn't have the votes. Why jump into the fire without any asbestos suit?" he said.