The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
When I campaigned for the County Board, I called for the county manager and superintendent of schools to both be required to live in the County. The superintendent currently does, but the county manager does not.
In a recent story on the idea, Board Chairman Walter Tejada resorted to the line “we want the best person for the job.” Of course we do. However, if the best person wants a job that pays nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year, they should be willing to move to Arlington.
Here are my top six reasons why:
6. Circling the wagons. There are times when Arlington must act in a parochial interest when it comes to dealings with Alexandria or Fairfax or Washington, D.C. We should have someone who is 100% invested in the community quarterbacking the team in those situations.
5. Credibility. Arlington County’s press releases usually end with boilerplate language praising the county as a “world-class” community. How can we make such a claim when our county manager, the one who ultimately signs off on all county actions, is unwilling to live here?
4. Perspective. You have a different perspective about the community you live in. You explore on the weekends, finding new places to eat. You walk or bike around the neighborhoods for exercise. Your kids play in recreational leagues. Regardless of how long Ms. Donnellan has worked in Arlington, it is not the same thing as living here.
3. Emergency Response. In the case of emergencies, a county manager should be able to get into the office within minutes if necessary. We certainly live in a technological age, but we also live in a region with heightened security concerns. If you were here on 9/11, you remember that the phone lines on the East Coast were completely jammed.
2. Consequences. If a county manager is going to recommend a tax increase, they should have to pay the tax increase. Our Board members live with the tax increases they vote for, despite drawing salaries that are roughly 20% the size of the manager’s. It only makes sense that the county manager can live with it as well.
1. Feedback Loop. Arlingtonians are not shy about sharing their views on an issue. The county manager should not be able to drive out of the county at the end of each day to avoid hearing them.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village