As you might have read about, Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey (D) has been enmeshed in controversy – entirely of his own making, as far as I can tell – in recent months. As the Washington Post’s Patricia Sullivan explains in her latest article on Dorsey:
The Arlington County Board forced member Christian Dorsey to step down from a second transit board Saturday over a campaign donation from Metro’s largest union, and he apologized for misleading statements he made last month suggesting that he had already returned the money.
Dorsey (D), who was reelected to the board in November, said he has given back the $10,000 donation to the Amalgamated Transit Union and agreed to resign from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which appoints Virginia’s Metro board member. He previously resigned from the Metro board over his failure to quickly return the donation.
To me, as someone who has found Dorsey to be a good guy and a strong, progressive local leader, this has all been very disappointing, frustrating, exasperating, etc. And clearly, Dorsey’s colleagues must feel the same way, as you can tell from Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey (D)’s comments, speaking earlier today (see video, below). As Garvey said:
“In January, Ms. Audrey Clement did not get a transparent answer from Mr. Dorsey on the answer of the issue of his repayment of a campaign contribution to the union representing Metro workers and this is unacceptable to us. Every member of our
community should expect clear and truthful communication from the County Board, here in this room and in all contexts. So we’re disappointed in Mr. Dorsey and I know he’s disappointed in himself. And after extensive conversations with one another and with Mr. Dorsey, we’ve concluded that while the balance of his service to and leadership in Arlington is valuable to us and to our community, his misleading of a resident – either intentionally or unintentionally – is not acceptable. So the board therefore decided that, in addition to Mr. Dorsey stepping down as the region’s representative to the WMATA board, he should also no longer represent Arlington County on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which has jurisdiction over Metro issues.”
Seems like an appropriate response…no arguments here. See below the video for Christian Dorsey’s statement of apology and contrition…and of stepping down from the NVTC as well. I just hope that Dorsey is able to get things back on track, as – again – I have found him to be a strong progressive, local leader with a (previously to all this) bright political future.
“I do apologize for misleading everyone listening to our board meeting last
month, and specifically to Ms. Clement regarding the status of my return of a
campaign contribution to a local transit workers union. I realize now that in attempting to explain the chronology of my actions, I left you with the impression that I had returned the contribution. I did not intend to mislead you, but by not clearly stating that I did not have the funds to repay the donation, my remarks had that effect. What I should have clearly conveyed was that I needed more time to accrue the funds to return the donation and that I would do so in the near future. And that it would be reflected in future campaign filings. Yesterday, I did in fact return the donation. Now, after discussion with my colleagues, I recognize that my continued work on the Commission that appoints members to the WMATA board could be perceived by some to not be serving the best interests of Arlington and the region. Now, this has actually never been the case, as I’ve always put the interests of Arlington in the region foremost in my work. However, because I recognize that that perception exists, I have not only stepped down from the WMATA board, but also believe it prudent that the board replace me with someone else to serve on the NVTC. Now, lastly, I’d just like to say again I apologize for being the focus of so much negative energy and attention in Arlington over the last couple of months. I look forward to regaining the trust of everyone in the community and know that that’s only going to come through my own hard work. And I just hope you all give me a chance to do that. Thank you.”