Letter: Conflicts of Interest

Letter: Conflicts of Interest

To the Editor:

In the Fairfax County website, over 80 boards, authorities and commissions are listed, most of which are constituted by appointments from the Board of Supervisors. One exception is the Board of Zoning Appeals whose members are chosen by the Circuit Court. Community apathy often makes it difficult to find volunteers to populate these organizations. This is no excuse for making inappropriate appointments — sometimes a seat is better left unfilled.

Sometimes supervisors appoint citizens to reward them for political activity to a supervisor's liking, whether through political activism or financial support. The one place political considerations should not come into play is for appointments to technical boards, authorities and commissions where private property rights are potentially impacted. Among those are the Planning Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance Exception Review Committee, the Board of Equalization, the Park Authority, the Architectural Review Board, the Wetlands Board, and others. Technical expertise, ability to put aside personal agendas and demonstrated ability to recognize and avoid conflicts should be absolute requirements for such appointments.

The slightest consideration of political issues in deciding who will be appointed to technical boards, authorities and commissions potentially affecting private property rights is inappropriate.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon