The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will likely have to appoint an acting county executive after Anthony Griffin retires in late April, buying time while a permanent replacement is chosen, officials say.
Penny Gross, Mason District Supervisor and chairman of the county’s personnel committee, did not elaborate on when exactly a new executive would be hired.
"Given the fact that Tony is leaving at the end of April, and knowing how long it takes just to do various kinds of contractual arrangements once we determine somebody, I would imagine we would probably [appoint] an Acting Executive," Gross said.
Gross and her committee are working with search firm Ralph Anderson and Associates, and have solicited public input to make a profile of potential candidates.
Merni Fitzgerald, the county’s director of public affairs, said the residents submitted 2,946 responses to a survey asking what qualities they wanted in the person who would fill Griffin’s shoes.
Gross indicated they will be large shoes to fill. "We’re looking for somebody who walks on water without getting wet," she said. "We’ll need to have somebody who works well with employees, works well with the community, and has the temperament to work with an elected board of supervisors."
Griffin Hopes Successor Puts County First
After 22 years in Fairfax County, Griffin said he would miss the people he works with but is looking forward to retirement, pursuit of intellectual interests and golf.
"This is a fairly time consuming job and has limited my ability to do other things that I’m interested in," he said.
Griffin hopes his successor is somebody who puts the county and its Board of Supervisors before themselves.
"I think part of my success has been being in the background working with county employees to effectuate the goals and policies of the Board of Supervisors to the community," he said. "In other words, it’s not about me, it’s about them and the greater community."
Griffin has served as the county executive for 12 years.
"I hope they are a leader who will encourage collaboration within the organization," he said. "That enables us to be more efficient and effective."
Griffin came to Fairfax County in 1989, when he was appointed Deputy County Executive. He served as Acting County Executive for almost a year between October 1996 and August 1997.
Griffin helped to see the county through trying times such as the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the Beltway sniper attacks in October 2002.
Prior to coming to Fairfax County, he served as Falls Church City manager for six years. Previously, he had served as Acting County Manager and Deputy County Manager of Arlington County. Griffin is a former Marine Corps officer having served in the Corps for three years following graduation from Hobart College.