John F. Herrity made good on his vow "not to go out like a wimp" by teaching his successor a lesson in rough-and-tumble politics yesterday, Herrity's last as chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Chairman-Elect Audrey Moore, still just the Annandale District supervisor for this meeting, could do nothing as the man she defeated for the chairmanship lined up party and ideological allies one last time to ram through appointments to committees and, shirking protocol, to schedule a public hearing for the new board.

It seemed a fitting last day for Republican Herrity, who in his 16 years on the board -- the first four as Springfield District supervisor and the past 12 as chairman -- amused and enraged his opponents and allies with a disdain for formalities and a sharp tongue.

The public hearing Herrity scheduled concerns transportation alternatives in the Dulles Toll Road corridor. He put it on the calendar after blasting the state government for poor planning of the long-awaited Springfield bypass and delaying its construction, and then he condemned a proposal for state-mandated sex education in Virginia, saying it is a local issue.

"The state is much more aggressive in trying to implement this type of program than in building highways," Herrity said. "Maybe we should put {the Virginia Department of Transportation} in charge of the state's sex education program."

After long debate, with the board's five Republicans clearly intending to vote as a bloc, the board voted 9 to 0 to "oppose" the state program.

Democrat Moore, a close political ally of Democratic Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, was clearly dismayed and said after the meeting that the toll road hearing may not be held.

She will be chairman at the time. Yesterday, the chair was still Herrity's, and over the years he has displayed unusual political instincts and a capacity for forging successful coalitions in pursuit of a probusiness, prodevelopment agenda.

Under his chairmanship, Fairfax has been transformed from a bedroom suburb to a booming employment center with the largest population in metropolitan Washington.

Preparing to leave office "has been hard for me personally," Herrity said in a 90-minute interview last week. "In the last 12 years I've done more than anyone else in the metropolitan area. There were major landmarks in the last year. I accomplished a lot which had nothing to do with my personal {habits} -- putting my foot in my mouth or on the accelerator. There are things I deeply regret."

Herrity's sometimes blunt remarks and his habit of collecting speeding tickets were regarded by political analysts as factors in his defeat.

Herrity said that he "definitely wouldn't rule out running for office again" but that he is concentrating on beefing up business for his insurance company, Jack Herrity and Associates. "Last year was a total disaster" for the company because his attention was on the election, Herrity said, "but I've talked to more potential clients in the last two weeks than in the last two years."

Herrity said he will remain involved in civic activities and "behind the scenes" in local politics but will not speak out about the policies of the new board in the near future

because "the incoming board has to be given a chance to do what they were elected to do . . . . I wish them a lot of luck."

That does not mean that he is apologizing for what is past. "I think we've done a damn good job in terms of presenting to the next board an outstanding county that is well run, without ripping the citizens off in their pocketbooks," he said.

"Every public facility in Fairfax that is controlled by the county is in good shape: water, sewers, schools, libraries, recreation. To me, that's a hell of a record when you consider that the responsibility of government is to provide service to the people. Roads are the only infrastructure that are in bad shape, and they're state-operated."

More than anyone in government, Herrity encouraged the growth that ultimately was his political undoing. While the number of businesses in the county skyrocketed, so did the number of traffic jams.

On Nov. 3, voters rejected Herrity's bid for another four-year term as chairman, the highest elected office in Fairfax, primarily because of the transportation dilemma. Moore, who won by about 3 to 2, has long been Herrity's chief political antagonist and spent a decade arguing for slower growth in the county.

Two other Republicans, T. Farrell Egge of the Mount Vernon District and Nancy K. Falck of the Dranesville District, also lost their seats to Democrats who ran in favor of slower growth.

It was a significant defeat for Republicans, who had controlled the board with a 5-to-4 majority. The new board, with seven Democrats and two Republicans, will be sworn in Dec. 29, although it will not officially take office until Jan. 1. Its first scheduled meeting is Jan. 11.

Without Herrity, the board is certain to be different. With a keen sense of what played well, both with the media and with the voters, he nurtured an image of himself as a sort of Everyman. He crisscrossed the 399-square-mile county in beat-up cars; he made appearances at neighborhood barbecues, birthday parties and ribbon cuttings; he smoked heavily, and he had three heart attacks while in office.

At the slightest provocation he would show up at Lorton Reformatory, news media in tow, to deliver a scathing attack on the District-run prison for the benefit of the evening news. He became one of the most widely recognized local politicians.

That exposure and his shoot-from-the-hip style had drawbacks, however: Polls before the election showed that as many as 38 percent of those surveyed had a negative opinion of him.

"I think I had too much of the spotlight in the last year, so it will be a relief to get out of it," he said. "My wife has never liked politics, and my mother just tolerated it.

"I've had a bad year and a half," Herrity said, admitting that he sometimes has been his own worst enemy. "It took me three heart attacks to stop smoking; it took me getting caught going 74 miles per hour in a 40-mile-per-hour zone to stop speeding, and I have stopped."

Asked if he had any regrets, he quipped, "You mean we did something wrong?" adding, "I have no regrets on basic policies" that were enacted during his terms.

"Obviously, if you had to do {the planning for Tysons Corner} again, you'd do mixed development," Herrity said. "Commercial development occurred much quicker than we thought it would. In some sense, it would have been better to phase in development, but there was no way we could legally do it.

"My basic message to the voters is that a lot of politicians run for office, a lot get elected and a lot serve, but few have been given the opportunities I've had over the last 10 years to do the exciting things we've done to create this great county," Herrity said. "It's been a privilege to have been allowed to do that by the voters. I have absolutely no ill feelings. They gave me my opportunity, and I did my best."