The chairman of Fairfax County's Economic Development Authority has resigned, prompted by last week's election results, which he viewed as a repudiation of the policies he believes are essential to the county's prosperity, according to sources close to the authority.
Charles G. Gulledge announced his resignation to fellow commissioners during their regular Tuesday night meeting. Gulledge, who had served on the board for 10 years and is president of a management consulting firm in Arlington, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Gulledge's resignation comes one week after Democrat Audrey Moore defeated incumbent John F. Herrity in a landslide victory for the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The election was regarded by political observers as a referendum on the county's pace of development.
Gulledge "feels somehow it personally repudiated all the years he put in to expanding the county's economy," said one source.
The authority, whose fiscal 1988 budget is $2.5 million, was established in 1964 to promote Fairfax as a desirable location for businesses.
EDA commissioner Bob Williams, who did not attend Tuesday night's meeting, said, "I think he just doesn't feel like he wants to continue what he was doing . . . . I think he thinks his charter may change."
Gulledge is the second top EDA official to resign in the last few months. The authority's former executive director, April L. Young, who along with Gulledge is regarded as a principal architect in the county's commercial and industrial success, resigned in July to take a job with a private development company.
Both resignations come at a time when public opinion polls indicate a strong disenchantment with the pace of economic growth in Fairfax. Moore's overwhelming victory last week confirmed that sentiment.
Young and the authority came under fire earlier this year after it was disclosed that the authority had conducted a series of surveys that included questions touching on county elections.
At the time, Moore, a Democratic supervisor from Annandale, called on the seven commissioners of the quasi-governmental agency to resign, complaining that Young and the EDA were engaged in political polling.
Moore could not be reached for comment yesterday on Gulledge's resignation.
Gerald Gordon, the acting executive director, would not comment on Gulledge's resignation. He said the board of supervisors will fill Gulledge's vacancy, and the EDA commissioners will choose their next chairman.
The commissioners contacted yesterday said they were not aware of others considering resigning from their posts and praised Gulledge's work since his appointment as commissioner in 1978. He became chairman in 1980.
"I think his resignation represents a tremendous loss to the authority and to the business community," said commissioner Michael Horwatt.
Supervisor Martha Pennino (D-Centreville) said she was saddened to learn of Gulledge's resignation.
"He has done a great deal for Fairfax County," Pennino said. "I probably would have been among those who would have wanted to talk him out of resigning."