Press Club

Fisette: Brown Wasn’t a Good Fit With Arlington

Former Arlington County Manager Michael Brown was asked to step down by the county board after it was decided he wasn’t a good fit for the county, Jay Fisette revealed for the first time Wednesday night.

Fisette, speaking at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting, acknowledged that Brown’s sudden resignation and his $110,000 severance payout left more questions than answers last week. Video of the speech was posted on YouTube by the Blue Virginia blog.

“I understand some clarity is maybe required regarding the severance payment,” the county board chairman said. “I know there’s been some conversation in the community.”

The severance “was fully consistent with the terms of his contract, and was not discretionary,” Fisette continued, contradicting the official line that Brown resigned due to his wife’s health. (His contract included a clause that required a severance payment of half his $220,000 salary in the event of termination without cause.)

As for why the board dumped the executive it hired after a seven-month, nationwide search just four and a half months into his tenure, Fisette didn’t get into much detail.

“When the board determined that Mr. Brown’s fit with our organization was not what we had hoped for, Mr. Brown was given the opportunity to submit an official resignation letter to the county board,” he said.

As for Brown’s replacement, Fisette heaped praise on long-time county employee and former interim county manager Barbara Donnellan, who was sworn in as the county’s first permanent female county manager on Friday.

“We are very fortunate to have her at the helm, and she will do us all proud,” he said.

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