Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity said yesterday that he will support efforts to prohibit county planning officials from going work for developers and dealing with the same issues they handled as public employes.
Herrity, a Republican, predicted that the county board, which is controlled by the GOP, will accept a "responsible" proposal on the issue and it will be up to the Democratic-controlled Virginia General Assembly to pass enabling legislation.
"I can assure everyone that there will be a proposal that will be responsible and responsive to the issues raised in the newspaper," Herrity said, referring to a Washington Post story Sunday that detailed a number of top county officials who have joined development firms. "The Republican majority of the board will, within a month, report out something that I think will address this."
The board chairman was critical in an interview Monday of proposals that several Democratic supervisors said they would push for adoption prior to a special September session of the state legislature. Herrity said yesterday he remained skeptical whether Democratic Gov. Gerald L. Baliles would be willing to allow the special session to consider the Fairfax issue in addition to transportation issues, which he has previously declared would be the session's focus.
Herrity said it was premature to say what kind of ethics measure should be adopted, but he said he "conceptually" could support a law that would prohibit a former Fairfax employe from having contact with the county on a project the employe had worked on while in the government.
All four Democrats on the Board, Vice Chairman Martha V. Pennino and Supervisors Audrey Moore, James M. Scott and Joseph Alexander, have said they would back a motion at the board's meeting on Monday seeking the state legislation.
Moore and Pennino noted that the board has taken up the issue several times in the past and that there is no need for studying it further. They said the board should push immediately for the law's adoption.
Herrity contended yesterday that the Democratic members of the board were trying to rush the issue. "I just don't think that's a responsible way to run government," he said.