Kauffman Fumes

Since announcing last month that he would not seek re-election to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, Dana Kauffman's long-simmering frustration with County Executive Anthony H. Griffin and his staff has bubbled to the surface.
The ordinarily soft-spoken Kauffman (D-Lee) was visably furious on Monday over the inclusion on the agenda of a $767,000 contract award for the renovation and expansion of the Richard Byrd Community Library in Springfield.
Kauffman said he had asked county staff repeatedly in recent weeks whether the architectural and engineering contract would allow for the eventual addition of a second story, but that he got nowhere. When he saw the item on the agenda before the Feb. 26 meeting, he angrily confronted Griffin. The matter was pulled from consideration.
"It's one of the reasons there will be a new Lee District supervisor here next year," Kauffman fumed during the meeting.
Kauffman is exasperated with what he considers the often plodding and unimaginative approach of Griffin and his staff, especially when it comes to thinking in non-traditional terms. In this case, he said, it means looking at how county buildings can be adapted for multiple uses.

"Single story, single use facilities must be a last resort," he wrote in an e-mail to Deputy County Executive Robert A. Stalzer on Tuesday.
Most aggravating, Kauffman said, was a memo from a county engineer who told him that there was not enough parking on the library site to accomodate a second floor. Kauffman said that in Springfield, which he hopes to see evolve into pedestrian-friendly urban center over the next two decades, parking doesn't have to be the dominant consideration.
"After years of experience with our County, I know the first response to my outburst of frustration will be a circling of the wagons and a shakedown of details to see what commuications were or were not made," Kauffman wrote to Stalzer. But that's not what matters right now, he said.
"I'm more concerned than ever about empowering/prodding people to think longer term and about leveraging public assets," he wrote to Stalzer. "One of the most basic tenets of capital construction is building something to serve a community for decades to come. If Springfield isn't a better place twenty years from now, I've wasted my last twenty years."
--Bill Turque

By Bill Turque |  February 28, 2007; 10:47 AM ET  | Category:  Government , Politics
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