Copy of Page 16 Opinion Ann Wheeler Headshot.jpg

Ann Wheeler

As the Prince William Board of County Supervisors enters the final year of its terms, its leader sees a tenure of accomplishments.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Chair Ann Wheeler highlighted achievements from 2022 in her annual remarks. 

Wheeler said the county’s continuing AAA bond rating is a sign of sound financial management.

She noted support for employees by approving a collective bargaining ordinance and pay scale adjustments for the police department. 

“We are dedicated to supporting our county staff,” she said.

The county has also invested in sustainability initiatives, homeless services and mental health programs.

Wheeler also focused on the recent approval of an update to the Comprehensive Plan, the guiding document for land-use decisions. She called it “a turning point for Prince William County.”

“It represents our commitment to investing in and guiding our community, from roads and parks to libraries and land use, and it shows that Prince William County is a growing, thriving place,” she said. “I believe that we can make positive progress if we all work together with a shared goal of making our county a stronger and better place for all county residents.”

Shorter starts tenure

Tuesday also was the first meeting for County Executive Chris Shorter.

Chris Shorter

Prince William County Executive Christopher Shorter

Shorter, whose first day was Jan. 3, came to the county from a role as Baltimore’s first chief administrative officer. 

He was hired at a $350,000 salary. He oversees more than 6,200 full- and part-time employees and an operating budget of $1.48 billion.

Shorter is the permanent replacement for former County Executive Chris Martino, who retired Dec. 31, 2021, after 26 years with the county and six as its top administrator. 

Deputy County Executive Elijah Johnson served as interim county executive for all of 2022. He applied to fill the role permanently, receiving support from two supervisors.

Johnson was honored with a plaque and many words of thanks during the meeting.

Shorter said he’s “very glad to be here.” 

“I’m certainly looking forward to the next few weeks and months,” he said.

Shorter seemed like he'd been in the role more than a week at Tuesday’s meeting, highlighting the county’s upcoming homeless count, new police and fire recruits, a development services case and commending the Department of Social Services on the results of a recent audit.

In her annual remarks, Wheeler said Shorter “will be an asset in leading the organization and leading the county to a successful future”

Organizational moves

In other business, Supervisor Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan, was unanimously appointed as the board’s vice chair for the year. He will handle remote public comment and will run meetings in Wheeler’s absence.


Supervisor Kenny Boddye (D-Occoquan)

The board also approved its meeting schedule for 2023, with a few changes from the document presented at the meeting. 

The board moved its Feb. 21 meeting to Feb. 28. The meeting was originally scheduled on the same day as the election for Gainesville District supervisor. The board also removed the Sept. 5 meeting and replaced it with a Sept. 26 meeting.


Nolan Stout covers Prince William County. Reach him at or @TheNolanStout on Facebook and Twitter.

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(5) comments

Patrick Mcconnell

When r they going to clean up hoodbridge?

Drug dealing and crime is out of control. Traffic safety is out of control. More police. Officers r needed.

Prince William is a terrible place to live and the Bos is worried about data centers

Harry Morant

Reasonable people may not be able to vote these people out, now the elections appear to be rigged. That is why they are blatantly ignoring the voters and pushing their rogue agenda, they reasonably believe there are no consequences at the ballot box. Traitors to The People.

Youngkinz Constituent

Does the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election also fall under the category of "rigged?"

Harry Morant

Luckily, sometimes the cheaters can't quite cheat enough to deny the will of The (normal) People. So there is still hope

Bill Wright

In her fourth State of the County address, Chair Ann Wheeler remarked on the community’s diversity and inclusivity, investments in education, economic development, collective bargaining, public safety, and transportation.

Inexplicably, she omitted the topic that has dominated the county’s business over the past year: data centers.

She touted the county’s adoption of a collective bargaining ordinance, allowing employees to negotiate collectively over terms and conditions of employment.

However, on the same day she claimed credit for expanding advocacy for county employees, she concurrently proposed to curtail rights of self-expression for the rest of the county’s residents. In a January 10th memo, Chair Wheeler put forward several recommendations for limiting public comment at Board of County Supervisors meetings (see separate article).

It is no secret that public comment has been a source of consternation for the BOCS. Chair Wheeler bemoans the tedium of enduring the public’s urge for self-expression, stating that public input is interrupting the county’s business.

First, let’s remind Chair Wheeler that she is a representative serving at the pleasure of the electorate and listening to the public IS the county’s business. Ironically, it is her contentious policies and aversion to transparency that are the impetus for the public outcry she is trying to stifle. The public is desperately trying to tell her she’s on the wrong track through whatever means they can muster. She’d like to reduce both the means and the messengers so BOCS meetings can more closely resemble an echo chamber that reaffirms her troubled agenda.

It might take a few months, but Chair Wheeler will get a hard lesson when the voices that might have influenced her turn into the votes that will replace her.

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