October 5, 2021
To the Fairfax County Community,

Our Fairfax County Health Department has made great strides in vaccinating our population, with over 81% of residents 18 and up having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. I'm also proud to say that partnering with FCPS and our School Board, our schools remain open with a remarkably low incidence of exposures - thanks to our vaccine efforts and school safety policies. As of this week, 0.004% of our approximately 180,000 students are impacted by quarantines.

We are entering the next phase of vaccinations with booster shots and building capacity for future authorized groups - like children under 12 - to be able to get vaccinated as well. Therefore, on Friday, October 8, a Community Vaccination Center, a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic, will open at the former Lord & Taylor store at Tysons Corner Center.

This location will offer:

  • First and second doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • Booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine to individuals seeking the Pfizer booster if 6 months have passed since their last Pfizer dose and they are eligible to receive vaccine booster.
  • An additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for individuals who are immunocompromised.

Of course, you can schedule an appointment anywhere in the County through vaccine.gov.

Finally, the Board met today. You may review today's full Board package here.
  • We recognized Pam Michell for her 31 years as Executive Director of New Hope Housing. During her tenure she expanded NHH to assist hundreds of people in need of housing solutions. Pam was an ever present force of housing advocacy and standing up for our most vulnerable communities in Fairfax County.
  • We also recognized the accomplishments of five county employees who were the recipients of the A. Heath Onthank Awards. This Award is presented to those who have illustrated outstanding worth in advancing and improving public service in Fairfax County. 
  • Colin Brody: As an Public Health Emergency Assistant Coordinator for the Health Department, Colin served as a primary coordinator for the County's mass vaccination efforts.
  • Emma Gutzler: As a Program Coordinator from Stormwater Management, Emma ran Operation Stream Shield which employs homeless residents to remove litter and invasive plants from county streams.
  • Shannon McKeon: As an Environmental Health Specialist with the Health Department, Shannon led the logistics of the Health Department's COVID-19 response and always did so with positivity.
  • Foram Shah: As a Business Analyst for the Department of Family Services, early on in the pandemic Foram created a tool to track public employment assistance request trends.
  • Laura Yager: As the Director of Correctional Health for the Sheriff, Laura identified the need for a Medication Assisted Treatment program to assist those with opioid use disorder through their withdrawal phase while incarcerated.
Our Onthank Award winners recognized today.
zMOD and other recognitions
  • I'm pleased to share that our modernized zoning ordinance (zMOD) that was approved in March won the Virginia American Panning Association Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award! The project was a wholesale modernization to our zoning ordinance for the first time in over 40 years. The goal of zMOD was to create an easier to navigate, more straightforward document that is simpler for the general public to use. Congratulations to our County staff, community, and Land Use Policy Committee Chair Supervisor Kathy Smith, who worked so hard on this project.
  • In addition, last week we recognized our Lords and Ladies Fairfax. Each Board member selects two volunteers in their district to be recognized for their leadership. I selected Pamela Montesinos for her work at Western Fairfax Christian Ministries providing assistance to those in need during the pandemic and Andres Jimenez for his work vetting land use policies on the Planning Commission.
Standing with my Lady Fairfax, Pamela Montesinos and her coworkers, from the Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.
My Board Matters
Today, I introduced the following items to Board members:

  • I requested that the Board send a letter to Governor Northam requesting that he temporarily waive the witness signature requirement on absentee ballots due to our ongoing public health crisis. During the 2020 election cycle, Virginia made historic strides to expand voting access while protecting the health and safety of our residents as well as the integrity of our electoral process. This progress should be extended to the signature requirement. No one should have their ballot rejected because they were unwilling to risk their health and safety. In Fairfax we want to break down barriers to voting not create new ones.
  • In 2020 we saw hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country mobilize in protest of systemic racism and injustice. While I am proud to have led efforts to make Fairfax County more equitable as part of our One Fairfax Policy, it was clear that we still had work to do. As a result, I convened the Chairman's Task Force on Equity and Opportunity to examine the drivers of inequity in our community. Today, I asked County staff to advance and implement our first four recommendations from the Task Force. You can learn more about those recommendations and next steps here and all recommendations from the Task Force here.
Strategic Plan
What happened? The Board adopted the Countywide Strategic Plan which:

  • Sets a community vision for the next 10-20 years.
  • Aligns and integrates existing and emerging countywide work.
  • Provides a tool for focusing and prioritizing initiatives over the next 3-5 years.
  • Communicates progress on achieving measurable outcomes on behalf of the community.

Anything else? The Strategic Plan solidifies our County priorities and develops consensus in the County's work. It cements our commitment to One Fairfax and intertwines recommendations from my Task Force on Equity and Opportunity. Read more here.
Collective Bargaining
Testimony provided during the public hearing.
What happened? Today, the Board held a public hearing on a collective bargaining ordinance for the members of County employee groups. This includes unions for our general county employees, firefighters, and police unions. This does not include FCPS employees. In fact, absolutely nothing about this proposed ordinance directly impacts FCPS in any way. If schools enter into an agreement, that is an action the FCPS School Board would take, not our Board of Supervisors. The decision on the ordinance has been deferred however until the next Board meeting, so Board members can consider the significant and thorough testimony provided at the meeting.

Collective bargaining? This is the process of negotiation between an employer and employee representatives to determine the terms of employment, including wages, benefits, and working conditions. Local governments were given the authority to adopt a policy allowing employees to collectively bargain during the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Local governments throughout Virginia have implemented or are considering allowing collective bargaining as a result of the state action.

Anything else? Unfortunately, there has been some misinformation over the process we are undertaking:

  • We sought and received the input and feedback of stakeholders throughout the process.
  • The Board created a collective bargaining workgroup that included employee group representatives. The workgroup met twice in February 2021 and once in April 2021, and feedback from the group was instrumental in planning related Personnel Committee meetings.
  • The Board has discussed the ordinance publicly at least five times in 2021, allowing plenty of time for input.
  • The Board held a public hearing today on the matter, with 64 speakers.
What happened? After a public hearing, the Board voted to assign FY21 unallocated "carryover" funds into the FY22 budget.

What was approved? A number of items were funded and there were other strategic organizational changes made, some highlights are below:

  • A $1,000 bonus for our merit employees and a $500 bonus for non-merit employees.
  • $19 million to support our environmental and energy strategies (this includes our goal of being carbon neutral by 2040, the continuation of LED streetlight conversion, and adding electric vehicle charging stations).
  • $5 million to support our affordable housing projects.
  • $4.5 million to support a new Childcare Center at the Kingstowne Complex, which will co-locate the Franconia Police Station, the Lee District Supervisor’s Office and Franconia Museum, the Kingstowne Library, and an Active Adult Center.
  • $2.5 million to support staffing and renovation requirements for the new Community Center in Lee District.
  • $250,000 to contract an additional mowing cycle from VDOT in order to maintain our road medians.
  • Restructuring of County positions (eliminated 31 unfilled positions and adding a Deputy County Executive role) ensures a streamlined and responsive approach to County initiatives.
  • As mandated by the state and essential to the health of our students, we approved 82 new school health nurse positions, which allows for at least one nurse in each FCPS school.

See the full package here.
  • The Board accepted funding from the Virginia Department of Health to enhance contact tracing and laboratory testing activities related to COVID-19. This is critical funding for getting our students back in class, employees back to work, and ensuring our County operates efficiently.
  • Fairfax County Department of Transportation was authorized to accept funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation to expand Fairfax County's bikeshare program. This will continue the County's work in incentivizing Active Transportation and making it more accessible.
Vaccine Resources:

COVID-19 Resources:

  • Fairfax County Health Department
  • To view the number of cases in Fairfax County this page is updated at noon daily.
  • Visit the County site on COVID-19Health Department Website, and see their FAQs.
  • To view multilingual health materials visit the County's Language Portal.
  • Sign up for text message alerts: text FFXCOVID to 888777. Para inscribirse, textear FFXCOVIDESP a 888777.
  • Call the Health Department from 9am-7pm weekdays and 9:30am-5pm on weekends: 703-267-3511
  • Email: [email protected]. This account will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm.
  • Inova has a helpful FAQ.
Jeff McKay
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