Virginia Hospital Center land swap

Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz.

County Board members on Jan. 26 ratified a contract with County Manager Mark Schwartz that will pay him $245,000 in his first full year on the job.

Schwartz on Jan. 8 was appointed to the job permanently after serving as acting county manager for six months. He succeeded Barbara Donnellan, who held the post for five years as part of a 30-plus-year career in Arlington government.

Schwartz will be earning less than Donnellan, whose salary topped out at about $270,000 a year, but more than the $220,000 paid her predecessor, Michael Brown, who lasted just six months in 2010 before being shown the door by the County Board.

The four-page contract agreed to by both sides is not substantially different from those inked by previous county managers. It allows the County Board to dismiss Schwartz for any reason, but if he is removed without having committed transgressions, the manager is eligible for six months’ severance pay, as was the case with Brown.

Other points in the contract:

• Schwartz will receive more than $7,000 a year for vehicle expenses.

• The County Board will pay $12,500 per year into a retirement account.

• The County Board will obtain and pay for a term-life-insurance policy with a payoff of $540,000.

• Schwartz will not be able to hold outside employment during his tenure as manager.

• The manager’s performance will be reviewed at regular intervals, and he will be eligible to receive salary increases and other compensation changes based on the result of the evaluations.

• If he retires, Schwartz is expected to give six months’ notice.

Schwartz, 56, and his wife, Jayme, live in Ashton Heights; they have two daughters. Before joining the Arlington government ranks, Schwartz was a staffer with the federal Office of Management and Budget.

From the end of the Civil War until the early 1930s, Arlington was governed by a three-member Board of Supervisors whose members exercised near total control within their district boundaries.

Faced with a growing and more complex locality, Arlington voters agreed to become the first in the nation to adopt a county-manager form of government, with elected officials serving in policy-making roles and professional staff carrying out directives.

Those who have served as county manager have included Roy Braden (1932-36), Frank Hanrahan (1936-47), A.T. Lundberg (1947-62), Bert Johnson (1962-76), Vernon Ford (1976-81), Larry Brown (1982-87), Anton Gardner (1987-98), William Donahue (1998-2001), Ron Carlee (2001-09), Brown (2010) and Donnellan (2010-15).