Riding in Fairfax’s Fourth of July parade last year are (back row, from left) family friend Cecelia Szkutak with Liam, Patrick, Dan and Sadie Drummond; front passenger is Kerry Drummond.
It wasn’t a conclusion he reached easily. But after much consideration, Dan Drummond’s decided not to run for re-election to the Fairfax City Council.
"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being on the Council and serving the community," he said. "But with a growing career and family responsibilities, it’s time for me to move on."
He and his wife Kerry, a special-ed teacher, have three children, 7, 8 and 12, and Drummond is public relations director for a financial-services nonprofit in Washington, D.C. But, he said, "I’m not retiring [from public service], just hitting the pause button. I’m always going to be involved with the community in some way."
He’s been on the Council since 2008 and, said Drummond, "I’ve always been passionate about my community. I’d been on the school bond task force in 2004, served on the Parks and Recreation board and also on the Economic Development Authority, so this let me serve in another capacity."
CALLING THE CITY "a special place," he said, "I’m proud of being able to help others through the actions the Council’s taken. Working with my colleagues, fantastic staff and our residents – who are also involved in the community – has been a great honor and a privilege."
Drummond’s had several highlights during his tenure. Most recently, he led an effort for the City to create an affordable-housing policy for multifamily housing. "I brought it to the Council’s attention, but we all worked on it as a team," he said. "And now we’re asking developers to include it as part of their applications."
He’s also pleased about the sale of the City water system to Fairfax County. "I credit Mayor Scott Silverthorne for giving us a new way of thinking about this as a way of benefiting the City years from now," said Drummond. "The cost of the infrastructure upkeep would have cost the customers millions of dollars a year. The greatest satisfaction I had during the last budget cycle was setting the water rate at zero."
Individually, he said, "I’m proud of introducing Fairfax to the National League of Cities. It represents cities on national issues and offers residents prescription-drug savings cards at no cost. It helps reduce the price of medications not covered by insurance."
Drummond and Councilman Steve Stombres made a resident’s idea a reality so that Veterans Day is now observed as a City holiday. And in the last 18 months, they together spearheaded an effort to bring an energy-efficiency program to city buildings to lessen their environmental impact.
Noting that the City was ranked by Forbes magazine as the third best place to live in the U.S. and has received several awards for excellence, Drummond attributed it to the collective, collaborative actions of the mayor, community, Council and City staff. He said Fairfax is so special because of "the dedication the citizens have to make this a better place."
"One of the really neat things about serving on the Council is being able to see how all this happens and works," said Drummond. "It’s been a great learning experience – and fun, too. We’re focused on the issues important to the community. We have a AAA bond rating, increasing interest in economic redevelopment and we provide residents high-quality services at the lowest possible cost."
So, he said, "Scott’s provided forward leadership in terms of what the City will look like in 30-40 years. Now that we’re on a good path, it’s time to get fresh ideas and leadership on the Council, and we’ve got some good candidates."
DRUMMOND’S ADVICE to them is to "listen first and talk later. The citizens are the ones you need to think about when making decisions."
Overall, he said, "I feel comfortable walking away knowing that we have a well-run, well-led city that doesn’t miss a beat. But I couldn’t have been on the Council this long without the support of my family, friends and the voters. It’s been an amazing experience and one I’ll always remember and treasure."
Silverthorne, though, is sad to see Drummond go. "This has been the finest Council I’ve had the honor of serving with and Dan has been a big part of our team," he said. "It's hard to lose someone I enjoy working with and consider to be a good friend.
Thanks to Dan's leadership and support, the Council addressed several issues that had been on the back burner a long while, including affordable housing and a complete rewrite of our outdated zoning ordinance. I hope Dan will return to public life in the future."