The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed Edward Long Jr., a former deputy county executive and chief financial officer, to succeed County Executive Anthony Griffin on April 25.
Board Chairman Sharon Bulova made the announcement after the board’s closed session on Tuesday afternoon. , as officials thought the county would need to appoint an acting executive while they completed their search.
Long will run the day-to-day operations of the largest local government in the Washington Metro area. He will serve the 1 million residents of Fairfax County, who range from the former vice president of the U.S. to immigrants from El Salvador, India and the Middle East.
He will oversee a $6.7 billion budget. That's a budget larger than four states. His bosses are the 10-members of the Board of Supervisors, seven Democrats and three Republicans.
"I am a huge Ed Long supporter," Dranesville Supervisor John Foust said. "His experience with the County, his expertise in fiscal matters, and his engaging personality almost guarantee that he will be a successful County Executive. I’m looking forward to working with him," Foust said.
Long, 59, has more than 34 years of experience with the county, beginning his career in 1977 as a budget analyst. He became the director of the Department of Management and Budget in 1989.
Long retired as deputy county executive and chief financial officer in May 2011, but he said he has chosen to come out of retirement and will not collect his annuity. His salary: $252,287.
"I think the learning curve when I come in is going to be seamless," he said after Bulova’s announcement. "I know the staff very well and I believe we'll be able to hit the issues and take off running."
There will be challenges going forward, but Long, a Centreville resident, said he was ready for them, and that he could see himself holding the position for at least four years.
“…The new normal for the revenue stream in the county is just going to continue to limp along,” he said. “We’ve got major issues and major funding challenges … employees cannot go years and years and years without salary adjustments.”
Long said he chose to come out of retirement in part because of the county’s dedicated staff.
“There were a lot of reasons,” he said. “When I originally left a lot of staff came up to me and said, ‘Would you please consider coming back?’”
He also said he was confident he could work well with the board. “I think this a very good board to work with,” Long said. “They can agree to disagree. They can move forward … I don’t see any reason as to why that won’t continue.”
Long also said he hoped to continue some aspects of Griffin’s legacy. “One of his great strengths is that he’s cool under fire,” Long said, hoping he could do the same.
Long has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory and Henry College and a Master of Arts in urban studies from the University of Maryland. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at and American University.
Griffin, 65, will retire on April 24, after 12 years as the county’s executive.
“Ed is known as a steady and trustworthy leader,” Bulova said in a release. “I believe that his skills and management style will continue to foster the culture of excellence for which Fairfax County is so well known.”