Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Another week begins, another inaccurate media report about another local VIP. In this case a Post feature about Libby Garvey, who is running for re-election to the Arlington County Board. Libby wants the salary of County Board members doubled, from about $55,000 to about $110,000.
AY heard years ago that Libby Garvey spends as much time socializing as she spends on matters related to the County Board and County Governemt, but we didn't have proof.
However, one of Arlington's independent activists recently shared a trove of records obtained from the County via FOIA requests, including recent desk calendars of County Board Members.
From perusal of these records, and the way the County Board operates, it's obvious that Libby Garvey was being disingenuous when she told the Post "this is more than a full time job". The County Board has been packing as much into the Consent Agenda as it can get away with. Often the County Board members are unaware of what they are voting for on the Consent Agenda. The County Board doesn't meet in August, which gives Libby Garvey and the other County Board Members a two month vacation - from mid-July to mid-September.
The way the County Board operates since Chris Zimmerman retired is for County Board members to pre-approve so-called done-deals - like the I-395 Express Lanes deal the County Board will approve today - in 1 hour meetings with developers. Jay Fisette serves as the County Board's de facto Chief of Staff. After County Staff provide preliminary plans for a program or project the plans are sent around the County to be rubber-stamped by the County Board's hand-picked advisory commissions and civic association facilitators.
The plans come back to the County Board for a final discussion and vote, a legal requirement. Since three County Board members have day jobs their incentive is to make County Board meetings as short as possible. After all, these are done deals.
As for Libby Garvey, yes she spends a few long days every month attending to County Board matters. But most days she has a meeting or two with some pet developer or pet non-profit and then socializes with political cronies and personal friends, often at a vibrant local restaurant.
BTW, Libby's opponent, Audrey Clement, has a full-time job and bicycles to work.
As for the Post, what can one say about a Post reporter who takes voluminous notes at every meeting she attends and publishes so little of substance?