A program that enlists Fairfax County Adult Detention Center inmates for litter pick-up, landscaping and other maintenance services will be put on hold.
The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office told county leaders on June 16 that it will temporarily suspend its Community Labor Force (CLF) effective Sept. 12 “due to critically low staffing levels,” according to the sheriff’s office.
“By doing this, the agency will be able to redirect staff to the core functions,” Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Andrea Ceisler said.
The office is currently down 72 sworn positions, or 14.5% of its staff, according to Ceisler.
The agency reported in April that it had a vacancy rate of nearly 15%, despite additional recruiting efforts. The fiscal year 2023 budget that the Board of Supervisors approved in May included salary increases for sheriff’s office staff and other public safety workers, starting on July 1.
According to the sheriff’s office, the CLF provides public services that would otherwise require county staff or contractors:
The CLF services over 300 county bus stops, shelters and park-and-rides by collecting the trash, doing light landscaping, removing graffiti and performing general maintenance when needed. The crews service many of the county’s stormwater management facilities, including over 1,300 dry ponds that temporarily hold and filter water in neighborhoods and at businesses. They also do landscaping, litter pick-up and emergency snow removal on public lands.
The force consists of work crews of up to five “well-screened” incarcerated individuals, each overseen by a deputy. Participants can reduce their jail time by volunteering for the program, which currently has 11 inmates.
Alternatives Needed for Sign Removals
Due to the CLF’s impending halt, the county board directed staff yesterday (Tuesday) to review potential options for handling the affected services — specifically an effort to remove signs from street curbs, medians and other areas in the public right of way.
The county has relied on the CLF to remove thousands of signs from 100 designated roads under a July 1, 2013 agreement between the sheriff’s office, Board of Supervisors, the Department of Code Compliance and the Virginia Department of Transportation. In 2016 alone, the group collected 23,264 signs, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The number of signs in our right of way today compared to what we used to deal with has made a significant difference not only in visibility, but in public safety, certainly for the environment and litter clean-ups,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “We cannot afford to have a gap, not even for one day in this service.”
Though the words “stunning” and “disappointing” were uttered, supervisors said the loss of the CLF could be an opportunity to explore more innovative approaches, perhaps even broadening the service to more roads.
One alternative could be an expansion of the county’s Operation Stream Shield initiative, which pays individuals experiencing homelessness to clean litter and remove invasive plants from parks and other county-owned properties.
The county could also use its own staff and vehicles to remove and dispose of signs. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn suggested partnering with homeowner and community associations, noting that some like Reston Association already help mow medians.
While McKay said the CLF “will continue to exist doing other things,” the sheriff’s office told FFXnow that the force’s suspension will affect all services, not just sign removals, stating that it will be up to the board, county executive and the affected agencies “to figure out how to provide those services.”
“County leadership was given ample time to produce a solution to this matter,” said Lt. Col. J.J. Snyder, chief deputy of operations for the sheriff’s office. “We worked with them; this didn’t just happen overnight. As far as how it is being handled, that is for the county to answer, not the Sheriff’s Office.”
The county’s work release program is also still on hold. The sheriff’s office suspended it when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and said earlier this year that it doesn’t have enough staff to screen and monitor participants.
The county’s FY 2023 budget allocates 606 regular staff positions to the sheriff’s office, only one of them not full-time.
The weekend is almost here. Before you double check your Congressional district or head to bed for some much-needed sleep, let’s revisit the past week of news in Fairfax County….
McLean High School teacher Jeffrey Brocketti can’t wait to tell everyone what he discussed with host Pat Sajak during a “Wheel of Fortune” commercial break. He will soon be allowed…
A DogFest is coming to Reston Town Square Park tomorrow (Saturday). The event, slated to take place from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. at 11900 Market Street, will benefit Canine…
(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) — Bailey’s Crossroads, including Route 7 and Crossroads Place, has reopened and shelter-in-place orders have been lifted after reported gunshots prompted a massive police response to…
Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.
Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.
Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.
Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.
Ending your marriage and living in the shadows of its pain is one thing, but when children (2 and 4 legged ones) are involved it’s not only about you. Divorce Mediation is the way to resolve the past and establish a solid, cooperative foundation to reorganize the relationship with your former partner. Everyone involved will benefit and you will gain peace-of-mind. Divorce Mediation is the cost effective way to negotiate your divorce and sign a Separation Agreement that is equitable and fair.
Walid Jawad will facilitate the divorce process in a calm and thoughtful manner to help you establish the foundation for your next phase in life. Walid’s 5-Star google reviews is a testament to his dedication to limiting divorcing couples’ stress during this intense transitional period.
Mediate your divorce virtually from the convenience of your kitchen table for $1,200 and save yourself the average Virginia cost of $15,000 per divorce and $22,000 with children. Make a complimentary appointment with Walid at Aether Mediation here: www.aethermediation.com
The Ravel Dance Company will present this holiday tradition for the 2nd year at the gorgeous Capital One Hall main stage. It is a wonderful way to start the holiday season. Follow Clara through her journey to the Pine forest,