Its fate remains uncertain, but legislation to give the Arlington County Board authority to employ an independent police auditor will get an airing on the floor of the House of Delegates.
The House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns on Feb. 11 sent the motion to the floor on a voice vote.
And with little time to spare: The measure, patroned by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), will need to make its way to adoption by the House of Delegates not later than Feb. 15 in order to be sent over to the state Senate for consideration.
A companion bill in the Senate, patroned by Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) on Jan. 20 was approved by the upper body on a party-line 21-19 vote. Should Republicans in the House of Delegates (where the GOP holds a 52-48 majority) opt to follow the lead of their GOP Senate colleagues in opposition, they could kill both the Hope and Favola bills.
The bills apply only to Arlington, where state law currently prevents the County Board from direct employment
of any staff beyond the county manager, county attorney, clerk and auditor. Adding a police auditor responsible to the board, rather than county manager, was one of the recommendations when County Board members in 2021 approved revisions to policing policies in the county.