Fairfax Board of Supervisors will no longer be able to use without charge the county’s golf courses, pools and fitness centers. These perks include a golf pass valued at $4,300 annually and fitness pass that costs $669 yearly.
These new rules came about because of changes in the state’s ethics laws. Earlier this month Fairfax County Attorney David P. Bobzien told the board that these amenities could be considered gifts to the board, gifts that may influence their votes on parks and recreation issues that come before them on the board.
These park passes have been in effect for decades but public officials are not allowed to accept gifts worth more than $100 under new laws passed after Governor McDonnell’s problems with accepting gifts from Jonnie Williams. No other nearby jurisdiction offers such passes although most offer public officials a reduction in fees.
From the Washington Post:
Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) said he has used his pass — mostly to swim inside county pools — and, based on the attorney’s guidelines, will now pay the county back.
Herrity said unlimited access to county parks allowed him to see first-hand how the park authority is functioning, an argument echoed by several other board members.
“If I thought this was wrong, I clearly would not have been doing it,” Herrity said, adding that he’s still calculating how much he owes. “Now that I know it’s wrong, I’m going to make restitution. And I’ve already bought my pass going forward.”