Washington, D.C. - The Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments today approved by a wide margin a resolution that resolved a controversy over an earlier vote addressing the gun violence issue.
The resolution, which passed 26-2 with one abstention, encourages member jurisdictions to individually or collectively share their opinions on gun violence with state and federal legislators. It also directed a COG committee to examine issues related to gun violence, including mental health and school safety. The measure replaces the Board's action last month when it endorsed the views of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on the issue.
"Today's action by the Board is an example of how leaders on all sides of a controversial issue can work together to resolve their differences," said Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who led the discussions among her colleagues on the Board that resulted in an agreement.
"We are a large and diverse region and over the 56 years of the Council's existence, we have done outstanding work. We are best when we devote ample time and a full discussion before formally addressing issues."
As part of the discussions that led to today's agreement, a core group of 12 Board members wrote to their colleagues saying they had developed "a greater understanding and appreciation for our varied perspectives and the communities we represent." At the end of last month, agreement emerged after a meeting between Ms. Bulova, Alexandria Mayor William Euille and the Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Scott York.
Today's resolution also says the Council's executive director should begin the development of a consensus process that will allow the Board to address legislative issues in a more coordinated manner. During a detailed and wide-ranging discussion, Board members focused on the value of their accomplishments as a regional body and agreed to collaborate to handle divisive issues that could threaten success related to COG's core work program involving transportation, land-use, economic development, the environment and coordination of homeland security planning.
"Over its long history, the Council of Governments has achieved results for the region by focusing on the greater good for metropolitan Washington," said Chuck Bean, the Council's executive director. "That is the key to our success."