by James C. Sherlock
Jeff McKay, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, can’t catch a break.
Violent crime is up. The Fairfax County Police Chief has declared a police emergency for staffing.
There has been a fairly brutal back and forth up there about who is responsible and who is or is not working to fix it.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, a George Soros acolyte, apparently has missed the news about the crime wave. His website emphasizes the reforms he has initiated since 2020. Understandably, he is not anxious to link those reforms to the crime wave. Take a look. You will be able to do it for him.
But this story is about Chairman McKay. After a big ruckus, he has moved on from crime and police shortages.
A recent story relates that he blames a lot of unsolved problems in Fairfax County — or what he assesses as problems — on the Dillon Rule. He chafes under its restrictions. He wants an exemption from that rule to make Fairfax County a city-state.
Not quite by the way, he wants authority to levy a local income tax.
Chairman McKay keeps stepping where he should not.
Crime, cop shortages and a Brutus. On July 28th, Attorney General Miyares visited the Fairfax County Police Association as several categories of violent crime were up. It seems that:
Murders have increased, rape and other sex crimes have increased too, and there has been an uptick in assaults in Fairfax County. This is all according to data from Fairfax County Police Department which was recently released by the Virginia State Police.
That same day, FCPD Chief Kevin Davis declared a staffing emergency with 189 police officer vacancies at FCPD. But,
Fairfax County police officers fear the mandatory overtime and reducing three shifts to two patrol shifts will add to more police resigning from the force.
On August 2, another Supervisor noted his concern and threw McKay under the bus. WJLA reported:
Is public safety taking a back seat at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting? Supervisor Pat Herrity thinks so.
Herrity told 7News public safety is under attack in Fairfax County as violent crime rises and as FCPD faces a staffing crisis which is forcing existing officers to work longer hours.
“The shift changes are going to completely upend their lives,” Herrity said. “And we need to be doing everything we can to fix that. It’s not going to be fixed overnight, but we need to start and we haven’t even started.”
After FCPD’s police chief and senior staff announced a personnel emergency, the Chairman of the Board, Jeff McKay, spent Tuesday’s Board meeting doing photo ops and discussing topics that don’t relate to public safety.
That brought an angry exchange between McKay and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, reported on August 10th.
- McKay claimed he and the Board had been proactive by granting police pay raises.
- The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association fired back:
We realize that Chairmen McKay continues to carry the bad faith message to the public that we received an average of an 8% raise, with some members earning up to 14%. We know this to be a misguided message. The board has shrugged its responsibility on 8 of the last 15 years to pay our members what they were promised on their hire dates. This includes the Board consistently lowering the cost of living adjustment for officers, while increases in inflation and healthcare have not stopped. Paying members, in some cases, half of what they are owed is not a pay raise and to categorize it as such is disingenuous.
Taxes. McKay apparently has moved on from that fight, but may have picked a bigger one. From the October 6 FFFNow story:
I (McKay) think the county should have the authority to levy any tax that they want and let their voters hold them accountable
(McKay said) he would consider a personal income tax as a means to lower — or, even, eliminate — the real estate tax, which provides over $3 billion, or roughly 68% of the county’s annual revenue. He says it would be a fairer, more equitable, and less risky way of raising revenue.
Dillon Rule. He went through a list of issues other than taxes that could be solved with exemption from the Dillon Rule.
- He mentioned COVID restrictions set by Governor Northam;
- He made a reference to the arrest of a school employee that “fell through the cracks” because the school employees did not understand state reporting requirements. (No, I don’t know what that has to do with the Dillon Rule either, except it was a scandal and he needed something to blame);
- He complained that Fairfax County cannot independently access the FBI’s Next Generation Identification System for employee background checks but rather has to go through the state police for that. They can, of course, access it in criminal investigations. But McKay is right. I just called that office at the State Police. That program is overwhelmed. Everyone would benefit by letting Fairfax County run its own background checks on current and prospective employees;
- He made the obligatory reference to Governor Youngkin’s proposed new guidelines on schools’ accommodations for transgender students;
- There was something about solar panels at the dump; and
- Something else about the County’s use of franchise trash haulers that in Fairfax County are paid directly by 90% of citizens (400,000 residences) instead of a county trash service. Seems the state has set conditions on hiring and firing them.
He never mentioned crime or cop shortages. Perhaps that hits too close to home. And to the progressive Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Never mentioned what he would do with the taxing authority. Commenters have been unkind to him on that point.
They even question whether any reduction of the real estate tax would be forthcoming with the addition of an income tax. They seem to believe Mr. McKay has a bottomless need for spending.
Except, apparently, for spending on cops.
Bottom line. This is the thanks Mr. McKay gets.