When Dan Dellinger ran for a seat on the Vienna Town Council in 2003, Sydney Verinder beat him by 32 votes. With Verinder's resignation from the council last week, Dellinger has been appointed to the seat he nearly won three and a half years ago.
"It was one of those unanimous things," Councilmember Maud Robinson said of Dellinger's appointment. "It was obvious."
Verinder resigned from the council with plans to move to Essex County, where his wife, Laura, will manage an executive bed and breakfast and retreat center.
"I thought about when Syd was first elected," said Mayor Jane Seeman, noting that the 2003 campaign had "seemed like a good, clean race." She said Dellinger's near-win, his longtime Vienna residency, and his work with both the nonprofit Historic Vienna Inc. and the Board of Architectural Review made him a natural replacement. "I was very impressed with the homework he did" for meetings of the Board of Architectural Review, she said.
She added that Dellinger's involvements are well rounded and "not centered on any particular agenda or issue."
Dellinger has served on the board of directors for Historic Vienna Inc. for three years and is leaving his seat on the Board of Architectural Review after four months, to take his place on the council.
HE ALSO IS INVOLVED in the American Legion. He served as the legion's Virginia state commander from 1999 to 2000 and has held the position of judge advocate at Vienna's Post 180 for the last 14 years. Between 2001 and '03, he was the legion's national membership of post activities chairman, and he was the Post 180 commander for two years in the mid-1980s. He is currently a member of the legion's National Legislative Council, which lobbies Congress for veterans' rights and benefits. Dellinger is slated to run for national commander of the American Legion, although he said that will not happen until at least 2010.
He is also a member of the Loyal Order of Kentucky Colonels and 40/8, both honorary American Legion organizations, as well as the legion's Past Commanders' Club. He was the legion's Northern Virginia baseball commissioner for six years.
His wife, Margaret, is treasurer for Post 180's auxiliary.
Other organizations with which Dellinger is currently involved include Vienna's Masonic Lodge 307 and Moose Lodge 1896, the AARP, the Northern Virginia Athletic Directors' Association, and the Army Navy Air Force Veterans of Canada, U.S. Chapter (ANAVCUS).
He was active in the U.S. Army for just under two years and was in the Army reserve for about six years. He left the service with the rank of captain. He still volunteers at veterans' hospitals in Washington, D.C. and Martinsburg, W.V.
In what free time he has, Dellinger said he enjoys boating, fishing and photography.
He has worked in construction all of his life. "It's how I paid my way through college," he said. He is currently a project manager for the Falls Church-based Chamberlain Construction Corporation.
WHEN DELLINGER ran for Town Council in 2003, two seats on the council were open, and Robinson was up for re-election. Verinder took one open seat, and George Lovelace, who had previously served on the council, took the other. Robinson was re-elected. Also running were Paul Layer and Ken Kemper. Dellinger finished the race 50 votes ahead of Layer.
Dellinger, who will turn 57 next month, was born in Washington state but grew up in Vienna, where he has lived most of his life. His son, Scott, 33, lives in South Riding, and his daughter, Anne, is a senior at James Madison High School.
He said he is an advocate for "smart growth" and added that he wants to make sure the commercial and residential properties in town share the real estate tax burden evenly. He also expressed concern for controlling commuter traffic. "I'm a big proponent of finding alternate means of travel," said Dellinger, adding that he would like to see a shuttle running between the Vienna Metro station and Tysons Corner.
He said his time on the Architectural Board of Review gave him a greater appreciation for the town's appearance, which he would like to maintain.
"When I was a child here, Vienna was a good place to live and a good place to grow up, and I just want it to stay that way," he said.
Next spring, Dellinger will be up for re-election if he decides to run, which he said he "quite possibly" will.