Sean Connaughton, incoming Republican chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, this week scored his first political victory since his election, forcing the board to back off from approving departing Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt's choice for the Park Authority board.
After a week of controversy surrounding Democrat Seefeldt's move to reappoint Pete Ebert to a second, four-year term on the powerful board, supervisors, who had intended to support her choice, abruptly changed course during a closed-door meeting Tuesday night. A story in Wednesday's Extra implied that the board had approved Ebert's reappointment.
The move allows Connaughton to appoint the candidate he had chosen for the job, Steve Danziger of Gainesville, once he assumes the chairmanship on Jan. 4. Danziger, an executive with Dominion Semiconductor in Manassas, also serves as chairman of the Prince William United Way.
The board voted, 7-1, to table Ebert's reappointment, with Seefeldt voting with the majority. The only supervisor to oppose dropping Ebert's nomination was John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco), a Seefeldt loyalist, who said the appointment was hers to make.
Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn III (R-Gainesville), an Ebert supporter, nonetheless decided to shift allegiance to Connaughton to smooth the new chairman's transition to power. But he called the flap "pure politics."
"Some say it was politics on Connaughton's part, some say it was politics on the chairman's part," Wilbourn said. "It might have been wise to work that out in advance."
Ebert is the son of Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert (D). Connaughton said he wanted his own appointee for the job. The semiautonomous Park Authority oversees dozens of parks, golf courses, recreation programs and tourist attractions.
"I'm extremely pleased the board supported me on this effort," Connaughton said.