With about 500 people on hand to witness the event, the 2004 Board of Supervisors was sworn in Monday night by Circuit Court Judge Gaylord Finch. Spectators filled the amphitheater at the Government Center and leaned against the balconies on the building's upper floors to watch as the seven returning board members, two new supervisors, three Soil and Water Conservation District directors and Sheriff Stan Barry raised their right hands and vowed to "support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia."
SUPERVISOR GERRY CONNOLLY who currently serves as Providence district supervisor was sworn in as the new chairman. Connolly, a Democrat, beat Republican Mychele Brickner in the Nov. 4 election after incumbent Chairman Kate Hanley (D), decided to step down.
Before he began reading from a prepared speech, Connolly thanked the county's military reservists who are serving in Iraq, drawing a standing ovation from the audience. He then thanked "one of the smartest hardest-working members of any Board of Supervisors, outgoing chairman, our beloved Kate Hanley," drawing another standing ovation from the audience.
During his speech, Connolly mused on lines from the anthem "America the Beautiful" and reiterated his campaign promises, focusing on education, transportation, public safety and making sure county services were protected from budget cuts.
"None of these promises can be fulfilled in a four-year cycle, but all of them can and must be pursued with our utmost vigor," he said.
THE CEREMONY included performances by the W.T. Woodson High School Select Vocal Ensemble and by bagpipers from the Emerald Society Pipe Band. There were also some unscripted lighthearted moments. At one point, Supervisor Elaine McConnell (R-Springfield), who is starting her sixth term on the board stumbled over one of the oath's lines which caused Finch to tell the political veteran, "You ought to have this down pat," drawing a laugh from the crowd.
Monday's ceremony also saw the swearing-in of a mother-son combo. Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) was sworn into her fifth term on the board while her son David Bulova was sworn in as a Soil and Water Conservation District director.
So how does a family swearing-in feel like?
"It felt wonderful," said David Bulova, who noted that he and his mother were seated in different rows because "they assumed we would talk too much."
Springfield resident Linda Cook said she came to the ceremony to support Connolly.
"We moved to Fairfax County three years ago and started to get involved in the Democratic Party," she said as she bounced her 14-month-old son Elijah on her shoulder.
The crowd appeared to be mostly made up of Democrats, many wearing pins endorsing Democratic presidential candidates.
Tom Parr, a Falls Church resident who volunteered on Connolly's campaign, expected the new board to do "a lot of hard work."
Fran Melillo of Fairfax, who said she's known Soil and Water Conservation District Director Greg Evans "forever," said the ceremony was "fabulous, very patriotic and sort of heartwarming."
Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Horan, who was also reelected this year, is in Chesapeake prosecuting the trial of sniper suspect John Lee Malvo and did not attend the ceremony.