History is about to repeat itself if Jeffrey C. McKay is successful in his bid to capture the Fairfax County Lee District Supervisor's job now held by his boss Dana Kauffman (D) who has announced his political retirement. Kauffman ascended to Lee District supervisor 12 years ago after serving as Chief of Staff to then Supervisor Joseph Alexander. McKay is Kauffman's Chief of Staff.
Kauffman, 50, who is completing 12 years as Lee District's top elected official, made his announcement to not seek reelection at a meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Monday. He had indicated he was seriously considering retiring at the Holiday Banquet of Lee District's civic organizations.
"I have basically accomplished all I set out to do and I think it may be the right time to move on to other endeavors," Kauffman said at that event in December. "I would rather leave with folks wondering why I'm going than with them wondering why I'm still here."
When asked why he had made the decision not to run again, Kauffman said, "My level of frustration not to be able to bring other things to closure and just trying to get everyone to realize that just because the bureaucracy is big doesn't mean that it has to be slow."
McKay, a life long resident of Lee District, announced his intention to seek the Lee District Supervisor seat Tuesday. "I am going to run. I have a good handle on what's going on in Lee District, all the things that Dana and I have worked on jointly," he said.
"It was not an easy decision though. There was a lot of discussion with my wife and political leaders throughout the area. Dana and those other leaders all encouraged me to run," McKay said. "I intend to make my formal announcement several weeks from now."
McKay indicated he plans initially to concentrate on many of the issues with which he and Kauffman have been involved such as transportation, quality schools and neighborhood stability. "I plan
to continue with a lot of our traditional efforts," he said.
"The overall problem of neighborhood stability is a serious matter and one that has been growing. But, it's not something that can be solved quickly. It will take time for us to get our arms wrapped around this," he said.
McKay, 31, attended Fairfax County Public Schools in the Route 1 corridor section of the County and is a 1996 graduate of James Madison University with a degree in Public Administration. He has served as Kauffman's Chief of Staff for the past 11 years.
In addition to serving as Lee District Supervisor, Kauffman served as Board Chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority in 2005. He has been a strong advocate of transportation issues. As Mckay said, "Dana is the transportation guru."
In making his announcement to leave political office, Kauffman stated he had no immediate future plans except that he hopes to remain involved in the public sector or to work in the non-profit field. A graduate of George Mason University his degree is also in Public Administration. "I like to think I have at least another 20 years of service to offer," he said.
MAKING THE ANNOUNCEMENT to leave public office did not diminish Kauffman's trademark of speaking out forcefully on issues about which he is passionate. On Monday that involved his Board Matter on "Neighborhood Stability" which he intends to press throughout his remaining months in office.
"For the first decade of my service as a County Supervisor, the first three questions I'd get when visiting with citizens would focus on transportation and gridlock. More and more, the first three questions I hear today target the loss of neighborhood stability in our communities," Kauffman told his fellow Supervisors.
"These are not minor issues. Not only do they affect personal and public safety, sanitation, and property values, but they speak to the basic issue of fairness. We expect our citizens and our neighbors to play by the rules. In exchange, the government enforces those rules. When we, the government, break this implicit contract, we put another nail in the coffin of public trust," he stated.
"This loss of neighborhood stability includes single family residential homes turned into commercial uses such as boarding/apartment houses and multiple employee business operations. It includes small fleets of commercial vehicles on neighborhood streets, junk cars, trash left to pile-up in yards,
and all manner of health code violations," Kauffman said.
"I see them in my own neighborhood and virtually in every neighborhood in Lee District and County-wide. We cannot ignore these issues as they multiply house by house and street by street," he insisted.
"So what can we do? We can begin with changing how the County uses existing tools to address this destabilization, press for faster
enforcement, and ask the state for legislation to allow us to impose more serious penalties for these violations -- many of which are serious safety hazards," Kauffman said.
"Some of the things I am working on in response to this growing problem include the following," he said. "I am
•Shining a light on the problem for my elected colleagues and senior County staff. I want complaints about zoning, health code, and building violations taken as serious priorities.
•Working with the Chief of Zoning Enforcement to get a new mix of inspectors with more skills, fresh eyes, and a stronger attitude toward enforcement to serve our district. We have added multi-lingual inspectors so language should no longer be a barrier to enforcement or an excuse. I am also working with our police to ensure they work closely with our zoning inspectors and provide mutual support as necessary.
•Working on a zero tolerance policy in Lee District so if a problem is found with a clear zoning violation, our County inspectors can issue a field notice or corrective order on the spot. The days of holding violators' hands for weeks and asking them nicely to resolve neighborhood problems before a violation is issued must end. We need faster enforcement and compliance to keep neighborhood problems from spreading.
•Working with the County to crack down on unlicensened contractors and unpermitted construction.
•Working with Delegate Sickles to amend State law to stiffen the penalties for landlords who are running commercial boarding houses in our residential communities. We are trying to increase the fine from $1,000 to $5,000 per occurrence. We are also looking at the possibility of jail time and ways to keep landlords from perpetuating these boarding houses. We need to stop blaming the victims of overcrowding and start going after the enablers.
•Working to engage the entire community in this effort."
Emphasizing community health and safety, Kauffman warned, "A
community split between those who play by the rules and those who don't divides and destabilizes neighborhoods." He urged anyone with concerns about zoning violations, unpermitted construction, "or other related problems" to call his office at 703-971-6262.