The Right Note: Missed Opportunity

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Missed Opportunity

The announcement that Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz was elevated permanently to the top post comes as a surprise to no one. It does represent a missed opportunity to change course in Arlington.

The Board undoubtedly viewed their last attempt to bring in an outsider on as County Manager as a failure. Michael Brown’s short tenure ended when he and the County Board did not see eye to eye. While Brown graciously offered an excuse of his wife’s health when he resigned, it is no secret that the Board did not like having a County Manager who desired to do things differently.

The Board then elevated Barbara Donnellan, a long-term county employee to the post. Donnellan certainly was by all accounts well-liked and well-respected, a quality not to be taken lightly. More importantly to the Board, she was well entrenched in the status quo way of doing things in Arlington and already had an established reputation with Board Members.

Now Mark Schwartz has been given the job. His resume certainly backs up the hire on paper. Qualifications aside, Schwartz is someone who, like Donnellan, was part of an Arlington government that brought us the Columbia Pike streetcar, the artisphere and aquatics center. These were bad ideas that have since been mothballed because of public pressure or mounting costs that the Board could no longer support.

Maybe the national search the Board said it conducted did not find anyone equally or more qualified. That certainly may be true. But, it seems doubtful that any premium was placed on bringing in a fresh perspective to how Arlington County operates on a daily basis. And, that is a loss for Arlingtonians.

On the upside, Schwartz is an Arlington resident. So, if he recommends a tax increase, he will have to pay it.

Parents Deserve to Know

Surely what we experienced last weekend was a storm of historic proportions. However, many parents are beginning to ask why school has now been canceled for the entire week. Superintendent Murphy posted a news release on Tuesday, but as of the writing of this column has said nothing at length since then. So, it begs the question, what are the criteria that lead to school being closed for the entire week?

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Hello Everyone — You are invited to the final meeting of NAACP Arlington Branch NAACP for 2022
When: Dec 12, 2022, 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: 2022 General Membership Meeting — NAACP Arlington Branch
Register in advance for this webinar

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

7:00 pm Meeting Opens.
7:30 pm Installation
8:00 pm Presentation/Q&A; by Dave Schutz on Ranked Choice Voting
8:30 pm Final Remarks and Comments by Newly Elected Members
9:00 pm Meeting Adjourns

Installation Official Robert N. Barnette, Jr. President, Virginia State Conference NAACP The President of the Virginia State Conference NAACP will serve as the Installation Official and provide remarks for our newly elected officers at the general membership.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Join us December 10 & 11 for our Annual Handmade Holiday Workshop Series. We have a myriad of fun and festive programs from linoleum block wrapping paper printing and buttonhole book making workshops led by Eliza Clifford to a meditative grid workshop and Calligraphy Card Making with Anjelika Deogirikar. Join these wonderful artists and get creative this holiday season!

Submit your own Announcement here.

Light Up Arlington – Clarendon Menorah Lighting

Join us as we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah! Enjoy delicious Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts and more!

Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration

Experience the festival of lights!!

*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah

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National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist


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