Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, was presented with the 2007 Tom Bradley Leadership Award by the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) at its annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Chairman Connolly was cited for his leadership of the National Capital Region Emergency Preparedness Council at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), as well as his role in spearheading the push for a dedicated source of funding for mass transit in the area. A former chairman of the COG board, Chairman Connolly also led an effort to increase telecommuting in the region.
The award cited the chairman as “perhaps the region’s most respected elected official and one whose opinion is sought on a wide range of issues because of his . . . ability to find a path that leads to consensus and his leadership on tough issues.”
Fairfax County Supervisor Penelope Gross, who represents the region on the NARC Board and also serves as a vice chair of the COG Board, said no one is more deserving of the Bradley award than Chairman Connolly.
“When it comes to solving problems and serving the interests of the National Capital Region, Chairman Connolly is always smart, energetic and collegial,” said Supervisor Gross. “No one is more deserving of this leadership award.”
This year, Chairman Connolly added the chairmanship of COG’s Emergency Preparedness Council (EPC) to his duties, and led the body as it completed a strategic plan – a task that was challenging since it involved partners from local, state, regional and federal entities, community groups, private sector, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations. “The Chairman ensured the new plan met the highest standards,” said David Robertson, COG’s executive director.
As concerns about the sustainability of the region’s mass transit system surfaced, Chairman Connolly led an effort to convince the U.S. Congress, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to adopt legislation that would provide a dedicated source of funding to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA.) Both the District of Columbia and Virginia have now approved matching dedicated funds, with Maryland action anticipated this fall.
“The push for dedicated funding for Metro continues, and Chairman Connolly is a dedicated, valuable partner in the effort,” said Montgomery County Council Member Michael Knapp, who also is a vice chair of COG’s board and serves on the Transportation Planning Board.
In presenting the Leadership award, the NARC committee also noted that the Chairman has been engaged in regional issues at many venues including quiet COG retreats, major Board meetings and hearings on Capitol Hill. “We are proud that our colleague Gerry Connolly has been recognized for his very substantive contributions to the region,” said COG Board Chair Vincent C. Gray, who also is chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia. We look forward to continuing our great partnership.”
Chairman Connolly took office as Fairfax County’s top official in 2004 after serving nine years on the county’s Board of Supervisors. With over one million residents, Fairfax is the region’s most populous jurisdiction and produces jobs at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the country. He has served on the COG Board since 1996.