Podcast: Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill Provides Coronavirus Updates and Thoughts on Racial Equity

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On the June 17 episode of the “Connect with County Leaders” Podcast, Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill provides an update on the coronavirus in Fairfax County and county government operations, and he discusses racial equity in the wake of recent national events.

Hill noted that Fairfax County Government is continually moving forward with the governor’s plans to move Northern Virginia as well as the commonwealth into Phase Three of the Forward Virginia plan. But he was also firm that he wanted county staff and residents to continue to stay safe and healthy as this progression occurs.

“We continue to provide quality service to our residents despite the pandemic. And I say kudos to all of the staff that have been doing such a yeoman’s work in this terrible time,” noted Hill. “We’re not trying to put any of our county staff in an unsafe place but we are trying to make them all safe because we are still providing that service to our residents. And our residents need us now and we need each other so you know, be happy, but be safe”

Highlights of the Podcast

Staying Home if Sick

If you’re not feeling well don’t come to work because you have the potential of exposing many, many people. We have to have people understand that this is not something that is going away until there is a vaccine. We’re going to be dealing with this maybe one or two or three more times. But there’s no vaccine as of yet. I’m committed to keeping them [employees] safe. And I’m hoping they’re also committed to keeping us safe.

Doing Things Differently

Code inspections are doing FaceTime virtual inspections. Everybody’s asking me, how do you guys do that? That’s pretty simple. We go on FaceTime and we know what we’re doing and we see the things that could potentially hinder a building. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to our guys … we’re doing things differently. But again, acknowledging that we do have a pandemic … and there are different protocols that we have to put in place to move forward.

On Telework

I’m not sure how we enhance our telework any further. I mean, I wish, I really wish I could figure out ways to do the things. Say, say policing and firefighting. Maybe we can do that through telework. But I don’t think there’s robots already available. Unfortunately, many of us have to be here to do the good for the citizens of Fairfax County. I think we’ve been very good at telework. I don’t know how we can get — how we could get so good, so quick, but we will continue to refine and be better.

To the Employees and the Board of Supervisors

The resiliency of our Fairfax County employees has been quite amazing. And the leadership provided by the Board of Supervisors has been absolutely astronomical to allow us to continue moving forward. You know, we don’t do everything right all the time. We don’t do everything perfectly all the time. But the way we’ve been able to bounce back and pivot has been amazing to me. And I just want to say thank you to all.

On Continuing to Provide County Government Programs and Services

So the opportunity and the challenge is how do you change how you do business? That has been the key challenge. And I’ll call it a challenge because that has been the key challenge that I’ve seen. How do you continue to do x, but you have to do it using y. And we have done a such a great job of merging x and y together to make it into an algorithm that works.

On Racial Equity

Condolences to the Floyd family and all the families that have had to endure over the last six months with things that have happened in this country. But this country is a strong country and we need to get together and from an equity and race standpoint, move us forward. You know, 400 years ago, we had slavery and conditions were bad. Today, we don’t have slavery, but some conditions are still bad and we need to understand those conditions so we can get to a One Fairfax or One America concept.

A lot of impassioned people live in this community. I am very happy to say that every protest that I’ve been at, or every rally, I wouldn’t say protest, I’ll say rally because they were all very peaceful. The people were just having the opportunity to express their fundamental rights.

One Fairfax

In 2017, the board set a resolution to for us to take an equity lens access and equity for all. So One Fairfax is just making the playing field equal and level. So everybody can prosper from within and throughout. And that’s what we have to do. It comes to employment, comes to procurement, and it comes to social programs.

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