All legislative powers of Arlington County are vested in the five members of the Arlington County Board, elected at large from the County for four-year terms. One member is elected in each of three successive years, and in the fourth year two members are elected.
The County Board sets all major County policies and makes all local legislative decisions. The Board also appoints advisory groups.
Arlington County Code can be viewed at any of the County's libraries, or at our Courthouse Branch Library, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., in the lobby.
Several other County officials are elected by the voters. They are the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Commonwealth's Attorney, Commissioner of the Revenue, Sheriff, and Treasurer. In addition, for the first time since the early 1950s, Arlington voters now elect the members of the five-person School Board. The first election took take place in November, 1994, and elected members were phased in over a four-year period. Members are elected at-large.
The County Manager is Arlington's chief administrative officer, managing the County government (except the Public Schools, which are administered by the Superintendent of Schools, an appointee of the School Board. The County Manager is appointed by the County Board for an indefinite term and reports directly to the Board. By law, the Board deals only with the County Manager on all matters relating to County government administration. The Manager appoints the heads of all County departments and the employees of these departments are responsible to the Manager. The County Manager is required by law to submit to the Board an annual proposed County budget, and to make recommendations to the Board regarding actions and policy decisions.
Arlington County prides itself on the high level of citizen participation and on its responsiveness to citizen concerns. Some of the best ways for citizens to keep informed and to participate in the process are: attending County Board meetings; attending meetings of advisory groups; and participation in neighborhood civic associations. These are outlined below.
Regular County Board meetings are held in the County Board Room 307 of 2100 Clarendon Blvd., on a schedule that includes approximately 17 Saturdays a year. Agendas of coming meetings are available on the Monday prior to a Saturday meeting, from the County Manager's Office, Suite 302. Agendas also are printed in the Arlington Journal the Monday before a Saturday meeting, and are cablecast on Arlington TV three days prior to meetings. In addition, agendas are available via the County's web site.
The regular meetings of the County Board begin at 8:30 a.m. with public hearing items beginning at 9:00 a.m.. The only items considered in Executive Sessions, which are closed to the public, are those permitted by the Freedom of Information Act, such as legal, personnel and land matters.
County Board meetings are cablecast live on Arlington TV on cable (Comcast channel 74 and Verizon channel 40). DVD copies are available for viewing in the Virginia Room of Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St. (telephone 703-228-5966) and in the Courthouse Branch Library, Lobby, Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. (telephone 703-228-3352). See hours of operation. All County Board meetings are closed captioned.
A public comment period is scheduled for approximately 8:30 a.m. at regular Saturday meetings to alert Board members to topics of concern not on the immediate agenda or currently under discussion.
Testimony may be given on agenda items by filling out a speaker slip before items are heard. To schedule an agenda item, a request should be made in writing to the County Board Chairman at least two weeks before a scheduled meeting. The Board Chairman decides whether the subject will be part of the meeting.
Copies of the County Board Highlights, a summary of County Board meeting proceedings, are available in the libraries or in the County Board Office, Suite 300, Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. For details on giving public comment or agenda testimony or for a schedule of meetings, telephone the County Board Office at 703-228-3130.
Approximately 50 citizen advisory groups -- commissions, task forces and ad hoc committees -- assist the County Board by studying specialized areas of interest and making recommendations for County Board action. These range from the Planning Commission to the Commission on Aging, from the Human Rights Commission to the Parks and Recreation Commission. Members are appointed by the County Board, and most advisory groups hold public meetings monthly. For a complete list of advisory groups and for general information, telephone the County Board Office at 703-228-3130. For a schedule of meetings, telephone the Public Affairs Division at 703-228-3969.
Most neighborhoods in Arlington are part of a civic association which represents the interests of its residents. Check with your neighbors to learn about the next meeting or telephone the County Board Office to get the name and telephone number of its current president.
Similar information on tenant organizations is available, along with information for residents of condominiums and cooperatives.
In addition, many non-profit, community service organizations exist. Ranging from economic development to history to recycling, many work with the County government to pursue their special interests.
Arlington County Government publishes materials on virtually all its programs and services, as well as maps, organization charts, budget materials, demographic information and telephone listings. Most are available free of charge at the first-floor Information Desk at Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., the administrative center of Arlington County Government, or at one of the County's libraries. Telephone the main library, Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., at 703-228--5990 TTY 703-228--6320, for the location of the branch nearest you.
Arlington County Government headquarters are located in:
2100 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
at the Court House Metrorail Station.
All TTY-users should call 703-228-4611, unless noted otherwise.