Arlington budget work session

Clockwise from upper left: County Board member Katie Cristol, County Board Chairman Libby Garvey, County Manager Mark Schwartz and County Board member Matt de Ferranti.

In the immortal lyrics of the 1970s singing group the Three Degrees: When will I see you again? When will we share precious moments?

Put another way: Planning on looking for an Arlington County Board meeting in coming months? You might want to check under the bed.

Even as other jurisdictions across the Washington area spring back to life with in-person governmental meetings, it appears Arlington leaders remain skittish about having themselves and the public in the same space at the same time.

“The board will continue its current approach of ‘virtual’ meetings until we know that there is no longer community-wide transmission of the coronavirus,” Arlington government spokesman Mary Curtius said after checking with County Board Chairman Libby Garvey.

“No one knows, at this point, when that might be, but she believes that the board may continue to follow its current practice for at least another six months,” Curtius said.

That would put Arlington well behind the curve of many other local jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, where the Board of Supervisors has resumed meeting in person (with appropriate health precautions).

Arlington has lagged Fairfax in a number of areas (Fairfax libraries reopened in July, as one example; Arlington’s are still closed).

And Arlington’s go-slow approach to resuming a semblance of normalcy has not necessarily won it plaudits; the government’s efforts to restart advisory-panel meetings in an online format over the summer were met with disdain by members and chairs of those organizations, not because they were only resurrected online but because the rollout effort was deemed poorly conceived and executed.

On the plus side for Garvey, her opponent in the Nov. 3 election – independent Audrey Clement – said she was in agreement that meetings should remain “virtual” until the health condition stabilized – whenever, or if, that occurs.

Republicans have not fielded a candidate in the County Board race.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

(3) comments

CJE

Meanwhile several restaurants in the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor are crowded on weekends by diners not wearing masks, both indoors and on patios packed with tables.

Meanwhile, in the County Board's virtual envioronment public speakers are routinely not connected or disconnected.

It gets worse because a number of civic organizations will only hold virtual meetings via Facebook or Zoom. Don't support what your civic association has planned? Too Bad.

jna

[thumbdown][thumbdown] to Libby Garvey and Scott McCaffrey. McCaffrey is well aware that Garvey cuts off commenters and does not allow other commenters to make public comments. This is blamed on "technical difficulties" but there are no "technical difficulties" with Garvey and the other Board members broadcasting from their homes.

People have been calling into talk shows, customer service centers, and for ordering products and services for decades and are put on hold until they can speak to a person or persons on the other end. This is a County that spends many millions a year on IT and Communications.

CJE

Arlington County's Web site has been down for the past day.

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