Appointed to the Town of Herndon Planning Commission on Valentine’s Day 1984, 25-year town resident Arno K. Randall began, what he called “a love affair with the Town.”
After 18 years of service to the Town, Randall will conclude his current term on the Planning Commission at the end of this month, having not been re-appointed by the Town Council.
It is his current love relationship that has Randall moving on – perhaps all the way to Baltimore County, where the woman he is engaged to resides. But that is not happening over night, he said. “I made it known to the council that in about a year I’d be relocating. If it was their desire, I would continue to serve until that time,” said Randall, known as one of the founders of the Herndon Festival.
The Herndon Festival, which concluded its 22nd season on June 2, started as a one-day event that has grown to a four-day affair attracting over 80,000 visitors to the Town of Herndon.
“I had no concept,” said Randall. “I was young, active with the Jaycees and came up with a brainstorm for a town party. ... It’s success has totally amazed me. It proves still that the Town needs to celebrate itself."
As a member of the Planning Commission, Randall’s successes include the planning and redevelopment of the downtown. Previously, the Town offices were located out of the downtown on Spring Street. “A plan was sketched out on the back of a placemat,” said Randall, having envisioned “parking covered by a village green, a library and municipal center” dedicated in 1995.
“I recall standing there watching fireworks over the Jefferson dome of the library thinking ‘wow – what a moment.’”
EXPRESSING LITTLE public disappointment, Randall noted that the Planning Commission is “a big part of my life. I’m sorry to go. Rather than shed a tear that it’s over, I’d rather celebrate that it happened. We serve at the pleasure of the council. My opinions have always been well known.”
Appointed to replace Randall is Town Councilman William “Bill” Tirrell, Sr., a one-time member of the Planning Commission, who opted not to seek reelection to his council seat, but instead ran for mayor. Tirrell first won election to the council in 1990, failed to win reelection in 1992 and subsequently won elections in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000 before losing the mayor’s race to Richard “Rick” Thoesen.
Town Councilman Dennis Husch, who openly supported Thoesen, made the nominating motion at the June 11 public hearing to have Tirrell placed on the Planning Commission.
“Bill Tirrell has the experience, the expertise and the commitment to make an immediate contribution to the Planning Commission. I look forward to his recommendations and guidance,” said Husch.
"NO ONE was more stunned than I when my name was tossed out,” said Tirrell. “I said I would do what I can for the town. My intention, right now, is to serve the full four years. Running for office in 2004 is certainly a possibility. I intend to work hard to make sure council gets well considered Planning Commission products,” said Tirrell who served on that board from 1988 to 1990 prior to his first election to the Town Council.
Tirrell’s nomination was approved by a six to one margin, with Councilman Michael O’Reilly casting the lone “nay” vote.
“It was a tough decision, but we were looking for the same institutional knowledge Arno provided,” said Herndon mayor Carol Bruce. She noted that Tirrell provides that with his prior service on that board.
“I’m glad to hear they have a need for experience and had a difficult time filling my seat,” said Randall.