Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin announced on Thursday that he will retire in April 2012. Griffin has served as the county’s administrative leader since 2000, the second-longest tenure since the position was created in 1952.
“I enter the next phase of my life with mixed emotions. I am excited but uncertain about my future, and I will miss continuing in my current capacity," Griffin wrote in a message to county employees.
"Fairfax County is a great community and a great organization. I have enjoyed the relationships developed over my 23 years with the county, working for the Board of Supervisors and the various boards, commissions and authorities, and most of all, the fine employees that make the county work and who are a model for other municipal organizations. With the culture of excellence that is the hallmark of the county, the organization and the community will continue to prosper, and as a citizen, I will continue to benefit. Thank you for the support you have given me over the years.”
Griffin joined Fairfax County in 1989, when he was appointed to the position of deputy county executive for planning and development and oversaw the areas concerning zoning, public works and public safety.
From October 1996 to August 1997, he served as acting county executive. Before serving Fairfax County, Griffin was city manager for the City of Falls Church, deputy county manager for Arlington County and served as a U.S. Marine Corps officer in Vietnam.
During his tenure as administrative head of Fairfax County government, Griffin has carefully managed county resources to address a growing population of now 1.08 million people, an increased job base of 580,000 and the county’s general fund budget of $3.46 billion.
Under his leadership, Fairfax County was named “one of the best-managed jurisdictions in America” by Governing magazine, which also gave Fairfax County a No. 1 rating in the Pew Charitable Trust’s Government Performance Project. The county has consistently received bond ratings of AAA from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Investors Service; only 23 counties in the U.S. have received AAA ratings from all three bond-rating services. Through the years, his leadership has encompassed projects both large and small such as emergency preparedness, Tysons Corner redevelopment, Dulles Rail and the plan to prevent and end homelessness. The county also has the lowest rate of violent crime in the country.
“Tony Griffin has been an exceptional county executive,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said in a statement. “During his more than 23 years with Fairfax County, Tony has worked effectively with members of the Board of Supervisors and has served as a community and regional leader. Tony Griffin is known and respected for his evenhandedness and integrity and his quiet but effective leadership style. When Tony steps down this spring, we are fortunate to have talented leadership within our workforce to carry on his tradition of responsive and responsible stewardship.”
As chair of the Chief Administrative Officers Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Griffin led regional efforts to coordinate local government decisions and responses in the wake of 9/11.
In April 2010, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed Griffin to the local, state, tribal and federal Preparedness Task Force – a council of experts charged with assessing the state of the nation’s disaster preparedness and making recommendations about ways to build resiliency in communities across the nation. Griffin’s leadership has been recognized nationally through the years. Most recently he received the 2011 International City/County Management Association’s Award for Career Excellence.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has already initiated the process to select the next county executive. An executive search firm will coordinate the process to advertise and recruit for the position nationally beginning in January. Working with the search firm, the Board of Supervisors will seek input from various stakeholder groups in the coming months.