Fairfax Executive Grilled: Panel Orders Defense of Job Performance

Article excerpt

The clock is ticking on Fairfax County Executive William J. Leidinger.

Yesterday the county's Board of Supervisors gave the chief administrator two weeks to answer questions about his job performance posed to him during a five-hour closed-door session.

Supervisors said little about the secret discussions after leaving the meeting room, but several had made it clear beforehand that Mr. Leidinger's job is on the line and up to half of the 10 board members are prepared to fire him.

"I think it's fair to say the board is not clearly of one mind," said Robert B. Dix Jr., a Hunter Mill District Republican, of the meeting. "I was one of those people who wanted to get closure today."

Mr. Dix has said previously the county should consider firing Mr. Leidinger.

Supervisor Penelope Gross, a Mason District Democrat, said supervisors grilled Mr. Leidinger during the executive session devoted exclusively to evaluating the administrator.

The evaluation is only the second such review of Mr. Leidinger in his four years at the helm of the 10,000-employee governmental operation.

Supervisors would not detail the nature of their queries nor speculate on what might happen if Mr. Leidinger's answers are unacceptable.

"We've asked him questions and we've given him two weeks to respond," board Chairman Katherine K. Hanley said. "Don't read anything into that statement."

Mr. Leidinger, whose salary and compensation package costs taxpayers nearly $164,000 per year, declined to comment on the discussions.

The board's discontent with the executive, who oversees the county's $1.69 billion annual budget, bubbled to the surface two weeks ago with the disclosure that Mr. Leidinger failed to tell the supervisors that he had approved an expensive contract amendment with a company to revamp part of the county's computer network. …