Podcast: County Executive Hill Addresses COVID-19, Police Reform, Census 2020, Strategic Planning and the November Elections

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On the September episode of the “Connect with County Leaders” Podcast, Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill discussed several topics, including the county’s COVID-19 response and progress. Hill also talks about the ongoing troubling riots and movements against the police across the country and steps Fairfax County has taken to mitigate such issues, as well as Census 2020, the county’s strategic plan and the upcoming elections in November.

Hill notes that the county has continually looked for ways to improve the delivery of programs and services during the coronavirus, including a return to full in-person Board of Supervisors meeting, beginning Sept. 15.

“We went through the board auditorium and have retrofitted and redesigned how we do meetings. We will have call-ins, we still have the video, and we have plexiglass barriers for all the board members as well as the clerk, myself and the county attorney. So we’re going forward full steam, but we’re doing it in a way that we practice what we preach. We have to continuously be diligent in what we do. Because this [COVID-19] is not going anywhere.”

Hill also encouraged residents and county staff to stay strong as COVID-19 continues on.

“We have to continue to be spry and be able to pivot….I ask that you take care of yourself and you continue to continuously work here at Fairfax County, knowing that we – Fairfax County leadership – have your back, knowing that we want you to be healthy; we want your families to be healthy. We just want us all to be productive and collaborative as we move forward, because without communication and without the ability to talk to each other, this is going to be a long haul. You know, eight months seems like it’s not too long, but I tell you this COVID thing is starting to wear on people. But I just need everybody to find their groove and be happy with what they can do to keep their mental health and their physical well-being together. I just hope it [COVID-19] ends sooner than later.”

On the National Discussion of Race Relations and Police Violence

Luckily for us in Fairfax County, we have a Board of Supervisors who are on the same page and who want to have a police reform and we’ve done that. Are there things that we can do to continue on? Absolutely. We need to continue pushing forward as we look at how we do things. The one thing I will say is that we do need police and police do need us. We shouldn’t be putting it all on them. And we shouldn’t be putting it all on us. But we should be working together to ensure that everybody’s in the same place.”

On Census 2020

“We’re at 80% [completion] right now. I’m hoping that when we can get that one out of the five households, we can get to them to make it 100%. But it impacts our school funding, and in fact, a lot of different type of funding mechanisms that help Fairfax County when we talk about funding and knowing how many people we have. That is key to the census and you only get one shot every decade. So, if we don’t do our part now, we can’t complain about not having funding later. So right now, we’re pretty high at 80%, but it’s not 100%. And that’s what we need to do. We need to get up to 100%.”

On the Strategic Plan

“This is one of those opportunities for us to be surprised and show that we can pivot and move quickly and how we do things. The strategic plan is important because it sets the priorities of the Board of Supervisors. And it also sets the priorities for our staff to understand what is top priority, and what we need to get done immediately. And if we’re able to play the connect the dots, you know, you do two or three things and then 7, 8, 9, then things fall into place. That is how we need to be moving forward. So being a little bit more proactive, less reactive is going to help us with this strategic plan.”

On the Upcoming Elections

“We hope that everybody votes! Like the census, your voice is strong, only if you put the time in to complete the census and to vote. So, we have set this up for each and every Fairfax resident. Whether they want to stay home, whether they want to come out, whether they want to vote early. We have looked at every potential option for everybody to be a part of the census as well as to vote.”

Listen to past episodes of “ Connect with County Leaders.” For other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts, and for additional audio content, tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio.

The “Connect with County Leaders” podcast is a monthly opportunity to meet and connect with Fairfax County leaders, to learn about the latest county news and information, and hear more on specific Fairfax County programs and services.

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