Donnellan Makes Two Major Appointments

by ARLnow.com October 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm 2,192 20 Comments

New Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has appointed county chief financial officer Mark Schwartz to her former position of deputy county manager. Schwartz served as acting deputy county manager during the seven months from 2009 to 2010 that Donnellan served as acting county manager.

Schawartz, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a law degree from Penn, has overseen the county’s budget and bond sales since 2005.

Also today, Donnellan appointed William F. O’Connor III as director of the Department of Environmental Services. The department manages county roads, sewers, trash services, environmental initiatives and building projects.

O’Connor had been serving as director of design and construction for Arlington Public Schools, where he has been involved with the design, planning and building of three new high schools.

O’Connor’s appointment is effective Nov. 8. Schwartz’s appointment is effective immediately.

“Mark’s extensive background in financial management, strategic planning and administration, and his strong belief in the ability of local government to effect positive change, makes him the natural choice for this key position,” Donnellan said in a statement. “Bill understands both our community and the challenges of running the County’s largest department. His wealth of experience in the public and private sectors will be invaluable to a department that is responsible for everything from capital projects to maintenance of our water, sewers and streets.”

  • DT

    I hope she got the okay from the Politburo, I mean County Board.

    • Arlington Voter

      Ooh, now that’s mature.

      • Jack

        don’t see a whole lot of difference between the politburo and the county board… sounds like a fair comparison.

        • S. Arl. resident


  • MB22204

    Actually, it’s a pretty ignorant comparison. The politburo was an undemocratic governing body. The county board is comprised of democratically elected individuals. That’s a fairly huge difference. Just because you don’t like the results of the election doesn’t make the county board a politburo or any other dictatorial body.

    • DT

      It sure does when they hire and fire people based on their own wishes. They represent only a small minority of uber-liberal Arlingtonians. Unfortunately, the other dems in the county are ignorant enough to vote for nothing more than a “d” next to their name. The county could really use another Ben Winslow to stop the steamroll.

      • Lou

        I’d settle for another Paul Ferguson.

      • Simmons

        Or you could move.

    • Burger

      They had elections in the USSR to vote for the politburo members. Even guys like Castro and Hussien said they held free and fair elections, yet, the same people always ended up winning. The current county board election system is rigged in a similar fashion because board members are elected on a one or two position rotating basis to ensure democrats only have to fight off one challenge a year instead of having everyone elected on the same cycle. Corporations do this all the time for director elections to ensure they can maximize their voting blocks you are being disengenuous or oblivious if you don’t recognize that is the same way the Arlington County board elections are run.

      What would make more sense is a first past the post voting system with ever board member up at the same time and top 5 moving on. This would allow for a more diverse background of board members because it is almost assured that a green party and a republican would get 20% of the votes to be on the board. Or, better yet, create districts in Arlington to ensure that the rights of every part of the county are heard instead of what current happens with Tejada looking out for South Arlingtons/Hispanic voters and the rest looking out of the Ballston-Roslyn cooridor contignent.

      • S. Arl. resident

        I live in S. Arlington and Walter Tejada does not look out for our interests. I am disgusted that he and the other Board members want to opt out of the Secure Communities program.

    • MC

      MB22204 makes a fair point – each individual on the Board is elected independently of the others, since each runs for office at a different time. But the Board members seem to owe their highest loyalty to their party, and so the election and policy process in Arlington is one where Board members feel they only need to be responsive to their party base, and not the general electorate.

      One should not confuse “democratic” as a procedural process for selecting leaders with the notion that leaders are necessarily “representative.” A politburo (appointed or “elected”) tends to make unanimous decisions, and bizarrely, the Arlington County Board makes unanimous 5-0 decisions all the time, with discussion a seeming formality. If there is any “discussion in the community” Board members only feel a need to explain their decisions at party meeting instead of with the community itself. Even the DC government, while Democratically dominated, has had some non-Democrats on the Council, and has spirited debate and even conflict with the Democratic party itself. Arlington, in contrast, has a Board that is so rigidly uniform in its positions that one can not say with a straight-face that most Arlingtonians necessarily share the outlook of the Board – Arlington is way too diverse to believe in the 5-0 decisions that the Board routinely produces. Arlington’s political system may be the among the most backward and broken in the United States in terms of providing dynamic, competitive and diverse range of opinions. It astounds me that a population as educated and savvy as Arlington’s can be taken as chumps by a deeply flawed Board selection process. As an independent, I resent having my choices denied by party political machines.

      • Jezebel

        You not getting your share? You not getting what you consider to be proper regard from your elected officials? Do they know who you are? Arlington elected officials are extremely responsive. Instead of whining through anonymous postings, try getting involved in your ‘hood, and your congregation, and your broader community. The world is run by the people who show up.

        • Skeptical

          “Arlington elected officials are extremely responsive.” That is only true if a sign of life counts as a “response.” I will say that Arlington elected officials are quite polite in the way they phrase their responses, but in my experience you get “the bug letter,” that is “we value your concern now shut up and go away and don’t ask us to do anything about it.”

          I don’t walk on our beautiful park trails any more because of the staggering number of people who think they are extensions of nearby off-leash exercise areas. When I wrote the Board to explain that this had become a problem and that various calls to Animal Control had not reduced the number of uncontrolled dogs on the trails, probably because AWLA really doesn’t have the resources, I got a letter thanking me for my concern and telling me to contact Animal Control when I had such problems in the future. Wow, that was helpful.

          • Just the Facts

            Oh my Lord, the County Board listened to your complaint and referred you to the appropriate department to handle the issue? What bastards! I can’t believe they didn’t go down there themselves and whip all non-leash miscreants with a wet noodle!

  • Ashamed Ofu

    I have been actively following all the stories and comments on ArlNow.com for quite awhile. The majority of you jump on board when the police, fire, and especially the County Board are critized. None of you picked up on the racial slur made by “Lou Dobbs” in his comment about “illegals learning how to cross the road”. Just because someone’s skin is brown doesn’t mean they aren’t citizens!!! Maybe you people (and you know who you are) are just as racist as he is. If you want someone new on the board, all of you should get together and run for the board. You could make your racism your platform. Shame on all of you.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      Without a district based system, banding together to attempt to get a board seat wouldn’t matter, since one tower in Ballston, Clarendon, Rossyln or Crystal City is equivalent to a whole neighborhood in the rest of the county. All the board needs to do is keep building towers in EFC or increasing the size of the towers in Crystal City by 60% to insure their continuing dominance.

      • tuesdayschild

        Agreed. Pure “majority” rule is not the best way to go for long term policy. That is why we have the Senate to check the House at the federal leval (the senate is anti-majoritarian), and the Supreme Court and the US Constitution to check the entire Congress when necessary. “Democracy” always needs proper structure, limitations and institutions through which to provide good governance. We have seen that the County Board tosses out rules and agreements (such as zoning to protect the neighborhoods) when it gets in the way of the County’s left wing goals. There is little recourse given the current structure of voting on the Board members.

    • el fat kid


      1) blanket accusations of racism always win my support. It signifies that you have a classy and intelligent approach to life.

      2) i’m assuming you are getting your panties in a bunch over an ill-conceived attempt at sarcasm…. posting something blatantly racist under the name lou dobbs is a troll thing to do, and your over the top reaction only encourages that. ignoring trolls is the best way to dissuade their continued attempts at antagonizing.

      3) using the term ‘you people’ is the mark of a racist, you racist. gfy.

      • Juanita de Talmas

        I thought the comment by “Lou Dobbs” was a statement on the real Mr. Dobbs racism.

  • Tim Kaine

    Or maybe the citizens of Arlington don’t buy what the Republicans are selling.


Subscribe to our mailing list