Construction Project Manager

[BACKGROUND: The Northeast Vienna Citizens Association asked all candidates three questions for their newsletter. Below is an expanded version of my response]

Given the additional costs incurred for the community center renovation and the subsequent hiring of a term-limited Construction Project Manager to guide it and the future police department construction project to completion, do you think the position should afterwards be re-advertised and made permanent in order to ensure ALL substantial capital projects, including major road projects, are satisfactorily completed and on schedule?

A Construction Project Manager is an important and necessary role for any building or infrastructure project to be completed on time and on budget. The person in this role should be brought into the project(s) when the design documents reach 90% completion, be part of constructability and value engineering reviews, and participate in any partnering sessions with selected contractor.

The Town should maintain funding for a full-time equivalent position through associated capital improvement program projects. However, the Town should retain some flexibility in selecting person(s) to fulfill this role because the qualifications are different between building construction, stream restoration, water and sewer, roadway or traffic signal projects. Much of this will depend on which significant projects or group of similar projects are coming on-line and when. The Public Works Department should examine the workload to have right individuals in place for the project(s) matching their expertise to provide the highest value for the Town.  Again, depending on the timing and project type this maybe one person full-time, two people half-time, or some other combination.

 

What Could the Town of Vienna Do Better? Part 2

[BACKGROUND: The Northeast Vienna Citizens Association asked all candidates three questions for their newsletter. Below is an expanded version of my response]

Can you offer any examples of things that the Town of Vienna does now that it could do better? or begin/cease doing?

So many regional planning, transportation and economic issues directly affect Town residents and businesses, here are some for example:

  • Tysons Development with the changes to the County comprehensive plan
  • Dunn Loring / Merrifield / Mosiac Development
  • VDOT I-66 Outside the Beltway HOT/HOV Lanes
  • VDOT East-West Integrated Corridor Management Plan
  • Fairfax County Transit Development Plan

These plans, projects, and economic competition are, or will, directly affect us. Other entities tend to assume what will happen in Vienna because of what they do; often times that isn’t consist with the Town’s desire.  Case in point is Maple Avenue…to many outside Town it is a commuter thoroughfare (54% of cars drive straight thru) and moving cars is the priority…on the other hand to residents and businesses, it is our main street that we want to be walkable and friendly for people to get to businesses, school and recreational activities.

While the Town has stepped up its presence by elected officials in the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and other local governing bodies, we must be an even stronger presence in regional governance to manage and leverage opportunities to protect our sense of community.

We need to move from being aware, to being present, to being advocates for our Town.

What Could the Town of Vienna Do Better? Part 1

[BACKGROUND: The Northeast Vienna Citizens Association asked all candidates three questions for their newsletter. Below is an expanded version of my response]

Can you offer any examples of things that the Town of Vienna does now that it could do better? or begin/cease doing?

Our residents, businesses and their customers are transitioning into a new level of expectation for communication and civic engagement. We need to be providing more routine updates on governance, meetings, recreational activities, and construction projects through multiple media sources: newsletter, website, social media and the cable channel. There have been any number of Council, Planning Commission or Transportation Safety Commission meeting I have attended where the people standing up to speak about X, Y. or Z state this is the first they have heard about it.  I know the Town is sending out materials and somewhere in between there is a disconnect that we need to figure out.

We need to understand how people want to receive information not only today, but in the near future. As information technology advances, the Town should look at creative ways to leverage benefits to meet the community’s stated needs.  As a result of this feedback and planning, some things may begin and some may sunset. That does not mean that print communication should cease; on the contrary, the Town’s community survey has shown that a significant number of residents want the Town newsletter in their mailboxes each month.