“To protect and enrich the quality of life for the people,
neighborhoods, and diverse communities of Fairfax County.”
-- Core Purpose of Fairfax County Government
Fairfax County operates under the urban county executive form of government, an optional form of Virginia county government, and like other Virginia local governments, Fairfax County has limited powers.
More specifically, Virginia courts have concluded that local governments in Virginia have only:
Those powers that are specifically conferred on them by the Virginia
Those powers that are necessarily or fairly implied from a specific
grant of authority
- Those powers that are essential to the purposes of government -- not simply convenient but indispensable
This doctrine of limited authority for local governments is commonly called the Dillon Rule. Learn more about the Dillon Rule and its impact on local government.
Board of Supervisors
The powers of government are vested in an elected Board of Supervisors consisting of nine members elected by district, plus a Chairman elected at large. The law requires that districts be of approximately equal population and that each Supervisor (other than the Chairman) be a resident and qualified voter of his or her district, and be elected only by voters living in that district. All voters in the county may vote for the Chairman. 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. There is no legal limit to the number of terms a member can serve. The next scheduled Board election will take place in November 2019, with Board members taking office in January 2020.
The Board appoints the county executive, who is the administrative head of the county government and is responsible for the administration of all of the affairs of the county which the Board has authority to control.
Boards, Authorities and Commissions
The Board of Supervisors appoints boards, authorities and commissions who serve as advisory bodies and play a very important role in county government.