My colleagues and I are so pleased to share the news of the Board's unanimous choice to hire Mark Schwartz as permanent Arlington County Manager.
I spent a lot of time talking with voters last year about what they wanted to see out of Arlington County government: A greater orientation towards customer service, more urgency in economic redevelopment, and more listening (as well as just great planning) when it comes to land use and facilities.
The upshot on today's news: Mark "gets it." He pulls off an impressive combination of extensive experience in Arlington and ability to see things afresh.
So many community stakeholders, including residents, business leaders, County staff and Schools leaders, sent unprompted notes and pulled us aside in recent weeks to share their strong support for hiring Mark. The most compelling comment, I thought, came from a civic leader whose neighborhood has had a number of difficult conversations with staff in recent months. But writing in support of Mark, this leader explained, "Mr. Schwartz did not accede to all our requests or agree with all our positions... he did, however, make himself available for real dialogue, and we have found him to be open, forthright and flexible."
I can't think of a better recommendation for a County Manager of a community like ours, and for the compromises we'll face ahead. Congratulations to Mark. The Board - and Arlington County - is lucky to have him.
(full press release after the jump)