The areas in which I worked included all facets of transportation, land use, parks and recreation, public safety, budget, and other issues. During my almost 15-year tenure with the County, I developed respect for the many professionals who provide the services that make Fairfax County a “great place to live, work, and play.”
3) How long have you been an MCA member? What is the value of being a member?
I became a member of the MCA in 1992 purely by accident. A close friend was secretary of the organization and could not finish the minutes in time for a meeting and passed the task on to me. It was then a logical decision to join given the orgaization’s breadth and well-known reputation. I had just spent 4 years in the Chairman’s office. The value of being a member allowed me to use my knowledge of how the county functions as an effective committee participant.
5) What were the key issues or reasons that you joined the MCA?
I was heavily involved in land use, environmental, and transportation issues in the Chairman’s office and being a member of the MCA allowed me continued focus on these areas. Civic associations in general, and the MCA specifically, are the foundations of democracy because one can work with neighbors and friends with local and state elected officials on issues that directly impact the community. The MCA gives residents a voice.
6) Which of our committees have you been a member of and in what issues have you been involved?
My participation in the MCA spans the length and breadth of the organization. I served for three years on the Executive Committee and as president from 1995-1997 and later as a trustee on the McLean Citizens (Community) Foundation (MCF). I have also chaired a number of county-wide and regional organizations. I continue to be active in Budget and Taxation, am a former chair and member of Environment, Parks, and Recreation, former chair and member of Planning and Zoning, and member of the Transportation Committees. I follow with interest the adhoc McLean Governance Committee and the Greater Tysons Transportation Committee.
6) Is there a particular issue that MCA has addressed that has directly impacted you/your community?
I would point to several that stand out. During my tenure as president of the MCA the county adopted a number of our initiatives: value engineering that has saved taxpayer dollars on projects over $1 million, establishment of the county’s independent auditor, and the “fraud, waste, and abuse” hotline. In the late 1990’s, Websites were becoming important for communication, but civic organizations did not have the technical expertise/could not afford to hire commercial firms. I developed and maintained the MCA’s first Website for four years which helped me understand how Websites are designed and coded while providing the MCA with a functioning site. With the restoration of the Dolley Madison Library in 2010, we advocated for and saved over 60 mature trees that would have been cut down in McLean Central Park. One of the most satisfying efforts on behalf of the MCA was the year and a half of research I did with Paul Kohlenberger to document the history of the MCA for the 100th anniversary of the organization in 2014. This effort led to the culmination of a 20-year goal of long-time McLean residents to create a “McLean Room” to preserve the community’s written history. By applying for an MCF Grant to hire additional professional archivists, all of the MCA’s and McLean’s archival documents in the Virginia Room, the county’s official archive, were put in order and made available to the public via The McLean History Portal, an online resource. Given that the MCA is the county’s oldest continuously operating civic organization, this is huge. This is the only such community historical portal in the County’s library system and preserves our history for public use.
7) What do you like most about MCA/advice for potential members who are considering joining MCA?
I would encourage residents who are interested in McLean to join the MCA because it creates a sense of place, enables one to stay current on issues facing the community, and by participating in our committees, gives everyone a voice. In working together and with local government we have a collective voice in improving the quality of life for everyone living in the Greater McLean Community. Besides, it’s fun and you learn a lot.