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Fairfax County, Virginia

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County Executive – Fairfax County, Virginia


The Position

Fairfax’s next County Executive will have the exciting opportunity to serve Virginia’s largest jurisdiction and be a regional leader in the Washington D.C. Metro area. Fairfax County, which has a AAA bond rating, has earned a reputation for its good government, sound fiscal management, and community confidence. It has a history of stable political leadership which partners with its County Executive and staff to provide exceptional services to residents, businesses, and visitors. The County Government, its departments, and its programs and services have been nationally recognized.

The County Executive is appointed by and serves at the pleasure and discretion of the County Board of Supervisors. The County Executive acts as the principal management official of the County and primary administrative advisor to the Board of Supervisors.

This position is vacant due to the retirement of the current County Executive. The County Executive oversees four Deputy County Executives and the Chief Financial Officer, as well as the Office of the Internal Auditor, Office of Public Private Partnerships, Office of Public Affairs, Government Relations, and the Department of Human Resources. All other county departments report to the County Executive through one of the Deputy County Executives. Each Deputy County Executive has operational supervision of their departments with the County government. The Deputies also serve as liaisons to the three departments run by Constitutional officers, Clerk of Court, Commonwealth Attorney, and Sheriff.

The Organization

Fairfax County operates under an urban county executive form of government. The Board of Supervisors is responsible for the legislative and administrative affairs of the County. The Board of Supervisors consists of nine members elected by district, plus a chairman elected at large. The Board elects the vice chairman annually from among its members at its first meeting in January. Board members are elected for four-year terms. The Board of Supervisors appoints a County Executive who is the administrative head of the county government and oversees the day-to-day administration on behalf of the Board.

The County Executive is responsible to the Board of Supervisors for planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and coordinating county activities. This includes serving in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors with respect to the functions of officials and boards not under the direct jurisdiction or control of the County Executive. Like other local governments in Virginia, Fairfax County has authority granted by the state, commonly referred to as the Dillon Rule.

The County has 12,500 FTEs in 49 departments throughout the organization. Fairfax County’s FY2018 adopted operating budget is $4.1 billion, including $2.17 billion for Fairfax County Public Schools. The County’s FY 2018-FY 2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totals $10.0 billion. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approves the County’s transfer to the Fairfax County Public Schools. Fairfax County Schools have an elected School Board with twelve members serving a four-year term. The School system is led by a Superintendent appointed by the School Board. As the 10th largest school division in the U.S., FCPS serves a diverse student population of more than 189,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. FCPS is the third largest employer in Virginia with 24,600 full-time staff positions, more than 92 percent of which are school-based.


Any combination of education and experience equivalent to a master’s degree and at least ten years of increasingly responsible managerial experience in a large local government or the private sector with seven of these years at the executive level in a large, urban community or at a comparable level in private industry.

Proven experience and success in managing and resolving complex issues in the areas of financial management, emergency management, public safety, land use, transportation, the environment, and human services are preferred. Virginia local government experience along with process improvement and economic development experience are also preferred.

After appointment, residency within Fairfax County is required.

The Ideal Candidate

Fairfax County’s next County Executive will be a proven leader, modeling high ethical standards, personal strength, and integrity in the face of pressure and adversity. He or she will be approachable, a strong communicator, and will work to establish and maintain effective relationships with stakeholders, gaining their trust and respect. The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable about the organization and community, be able to craft a long-term vision, and grow organizational capacity to meet future needs. He or she will be able to think innovatively, and to operate and adapt effectively in a dynamic environment. The next County Executive will have a business mentality, be fiscally prudent, and understand the importance of return on investment. The ideal candidate will have a supportive, respectful management style that values staff members, both appreciating and being sensitive to diversity and fair treatment for all. He or she will be collaborative and a team builder, instilling confidence and pride in staff and recognizing and utilizing the talent and capabilities of employees at all levels. He or she will be a strong leader who can set high standards, communicate those standards clearly, and hold staff accountable for results. He or she will create commitment through shared values, creating a healthy, high performing culture in which people want to do their best. The ideal candidate will enable a responsive “can do” attitude and leadership style that promotes a customer-focused government throughout the organization. The next County Executive will be politically savvy, able to set priorities, and make sound recommendations to the Board of Supervisors or community groups, yet also be willing to implement a decision promptly even if different from his or hers. The ideal candidate will be able to make decisions in a timely manner, under the pressure of incomplete information and tight deadlines, with most decisions judged to be correct over time. He or she will be trustworthy and drive effective outcomes for the betterment of the staff and the community at-large. The next County Executive will earn the respect of business and community leaders in Fairfax County as well as lead and collaborate with other governments and organizations in the region.

The Community

Fairfax County, which encompasses 395 square miles, is a diverse and thriving urban community with three towns. As the most populous jurisdiction in both Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the county’s population exceeds that of eight states and the District of Columbia. The County’s population is projected to be 1,141,275 in CY 2018. The median household income of Fairfax County is one of the highest in the nation and over half of its adult residents have earned four-year college degrees or higher.

Fairfax County is home to the headquarters of intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office, as well as the National Counterterrorism Center and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The County is also home to seven Fortune 500 companies.

The Fairfax County Park Authority maintains over 390 county parks on more than 23,000 acres. The County also maintains miles of trails which offer some of the region’s best and safest routes for recreational walking and biking.

Transportation options within the County are abundant. Washington Dulles International Airport lies partly within Fairfax County. Washington’s Metro Orange, Blue, Yellow lines, and the new Silver line all serve Fairfax County. In addition, the Virginia Railway Express provides commuter rail service to Washington, D.C. with stations in Fairfax County.


The salary and total compensation package will be negotiable, dependent on qualifications.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at and will be kept confidential. Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that has a cover letter, resume with salary history, and a list of 3-5 professional references. Open until filled with first review of applications September 29, 2017.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish or Chelsey Gordon at or 513-221-0500.

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