Friday, February 5, 2010

Supervisor Herrity wants to fire eliminate bicycle coordinator position

At a Feb. 1 town hall meeting on Fairfax County's government and schools budgets Supervisor Herrity suggested that the bicycle and environment coordinator positions be eliminated:
Herrity said the county cut jobs, services and expenditures to deal with last year's shortfall. Now, he said, "I think we need to cut some senior-level positions, such as bicycle and environmental coordinators. The county should come out of its leased space, consolidate some departments and, perhaps, outsource county trash pickup to save money."

He said 54 percent of the county's budget goes to the schools. "The number-one reason businesses come to Fairfax County is our schools," said Herrity. Elementary-school language programs, band and strings, and sports are important, and we shouldn't be going there [for cuts]."
Despite voting in favor of the bicycle master plan motion proposed by Supervisor McKay in October, Herrity wants to cut the bicycle program just as the county is making some progress toward creating a more bicycle-friendly county. The bicycle plan won't get done without a bike coordinator and a staffed bike program. If anything, we need to increase the current bike program staff to handle all the requests on their time.

While we are confident that the majority of the Board supports having a bicycle program, we suggest all cyclists contact Supervisor Herrity to demand that the bicycle program receive full funding in the 2011 budget. Send email to or call his office at 703-451-8873. We suggest that you also contact your supervisor. See the letter from Alan Young to Supervisor Herrity:
I see the effects of failed planning daily. My grandchildren live 1.5 miles from their elementary school, but are not allowed to walk or bike to school because they have to cross Rolling Road; they are required to ride a school bus despite growing concerns about fitness, pollution and costs.
You can also sign up to speak at the upcoming budget hearings on Tuesday, April 6 starting at 6 p.m., Wed & Thurs, April 7 &am; 8 starting at 3 p.m.

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To be fair, Supervisor Herrity did not propose firing anyone, just cutting some County positions. Since some County staff retire or find work outside County government every year, a bicycle planning position could, at least theoretically, be cut without firing anyone.

Bicycle transportation should have bi-partisan support, so it seems odd that Republicans tend to attack bicycling as unimportant much more often than Democrats do. I wonder if some national Republican group has determined that attacking bicycling somehow plays well to the voters they're trying to influence.
Allen, You're right and the title of the post is inaccurate; the bike coordinator would not likely be fired and could fill an open position somewhere else in the county. I've changed the title.
You should change it (fire versus elminate) in the Facebook note, too. I think these Supervisors are looking for something that does not get the same emotional reponse as cutting band or freshman sports. If they hear from enough bicyclists, then they'll look elsewhere for cuts. Certainly, there is fat in any budget to be cut. They just need to be redirected with the trimming effort.
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