Sharon Bulova, Janet Oleszek Blast John Cook on Pension Funds


    I was at the Braddock District supervisor’s debate last night, which was packed with 100+ people, mostly Cook supporters from what I could tell from bumper stickers in the parking lot (note: this was Cook’s home turn, as NLS explains). As for John Cook, I’d never seen him in action before, and my first impression was that I can see why he’s most definitely a politician (in all senses of that word) — slick and glib, but fundamentally without much “beef” there (unless you like Cuccinelli-supported Teapublicans pretending to be “moderates”). Cook also makes mistakes, despite being able to rattle off facts and figures, as the following press release from Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova, along with Democratic nominee Janet Oleszek, explains. I’d just add that if you’re looking for “slick and glib politician,” then by all means support John Cook for reelection. If, instead, you want someone who’s clearly not a politician at heart, but is a real person who cares about her community, and who shares the values of most people in Braddock District, then your choice is also clear — Janet Oleszek. Finally, if you really want a (self-described) strong fiscal conservative, you can always vote for the independent candidate in the race, Carey Campbell, who is running hard against (in his words) the “borrow and spend” incumbent.

    Today the campaigns of Sharon Bulova for Chairman and Janet Oleszek for Braddock Supervisor released the following regarding the pension plans discussed in last night’s Braddock District Supervisor debate:

    John continues to misunderstand how Fairfax County maintains the stability of its pension funds“, Chairman Bulova said. We are following the guidance of our financial experts with whom I work every day and maintain a level of funding that helps to protect our retirees and current employees from being hurt by market fluctuations. His claim of being the one on the board to stand up is right, but he is standing up against good financial advice and the expertise on the boards of trustees of all three pension funds.

    “I think Sharon Bulova has been doing an excellent job managing an extremely complex budget”, Janet Oleszek said.  “It’s actually laughable that John tried to compare himself to Sharon at one time during the debate, while attacking her record of fiscal leadership in another part of the debate.  If John wants to make this election a referendum on Sharon’s leadership of Fairfax County then I accept.

    Photo courtesy of Clifford’sPhotography

    • sspiker

      To be clear, Cook made no “mistake”. The matter here is how important it is that the County’s pension is currently underfunded. To wit:

      As of the end of FY2010, the Police Officers’ Retirement System was 81.7%.

      The Employees’ Retirement System was at 73.6%.

      The Uniformed Retirement System was at 79.5%.

      These numbers are not disputed:

      If Sharon Bulova doesn’t think its a big deal that the County’s pension funds are around 80% of where they should be, then that’s fine and she can defend her record. But it’s no “mistake” for Supervisor Cook to bring the matter to the public’s attention, nor is it any “mistake” for Cook to think that this is an important matter.

      And please note, that at no point in this discussion is anyone talking about the “VRS”, or the Virginia Retirement System, despite Ms. Oleszek getting confused by the matter at last night’s debate.

      It’s not shocking at all that the Democratic Chairman of the BoS would release a statement “blasting” a member of the other party. However, what’s even less shocking than that is that Ms. Oleszek needs Chairman Bulova to explain the issue and state an opinion. One wonders if Oleszek is capable of offering a substantive response or, if elected, she’ll let others do the intellectual heavy lifting while she sits back and makes snide comments.

    • Will Radle

      Year after year. In fact, every year Sharon has been chairman, classroom size has increased. Teachers, first responders and front-line county employees have struggled with less and less take home pay in the shadow of rising food costs, gas prices and real estate taxes.

      Is Janet now trying to defend Sharon’s legacy as chairman? I remember when Sharon paid to support Janet’s primary opponent saying Janet focused too much on education. Who changed here: Janet or Sharon?

    • Will Radle

      In fact, I sat directly behind Jim Corcoran, President of Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, in the second row.  The Chamber hosted a great event.  

      The same people who who post on blogs giving lip service about politicians being bought and about there being too much money in politics are complaining that I have not actively sought to extract money during this campaign, in this economy.  I am here to serve our community and obviously am getting my message out.

      The law requires candidates establish a separate account for their campaign.  I chose to open our account with the nation’s largest credit union.  Navy Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Fairfax County and does a lot of good for our national heroes and our community.  Accounts require a $5 deposit. We have $10 because Carl Sell matched my deposit.  Carl Sell has been serving our community for at least five decades.  He is a Republican who former Supervisor Joe Alexander (D) appointed as the Lee District Planning Commissioner for decades.  I am honored to have Carl’s $5 contribution.

      Members of the debate panel thought I should be included in the debate. However, citing their tradition, the Chamber only included the Democratic and Republican candidates.  What will FCCC do if I seek re-election in 2015?  We’ll see when we get there.

      My campaign is about providing solutions, about Fairfax County achieving milestones we have sought for decades, about working together to create a better future for our community and honoring our shared values.  Thank you.