Delegate: Warner corrals assistant county executive

RICHMOND –Local leaders always complain about the difficulty of getting through to the top leaders in the Virginia Department of Transportation. Now one of Prince William’s own will be going down to Richmond to help lead the agency.

Pierce Homer, assistant county executive, is slated to be named deputy secretary of transportation by the Warner administration, said Delegate Harry J. Parrish, R-50th, at a Northern Virginia delegation meeting Monday.

Parrish revealed the appointment to the surprise of many in the delegation meeting led by Sen. Charles J. Colgan, D-29th.

“I think it’s a great choice,” Colgan said shortly after the announcement. “He’s an expert on transportation issues We used to call him ‘Delegate Homer.'”

“Pierce is very well respected in Prince William,” said Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-31st.

Homer began working for Prince William as its legislative affairs liaison in the early 1990s and became assistant county executive two years ago.

He will serve under Transportation Secretary Whittington W. Clement, who was in the House of Delegates from 1988 to 2001 and appointed by Warner last month. Warner officials said Clement will advise on the selection of a new commissioner of Virginia Department of Transportation, to be picked through a nationwide search by Korn/Ferry International with recommendations due in February.

Delegate John. A. “Jack” Rollison, R-52nd, was thanked by Warner in his Monday night address for helping in the process to choose a successor to VDOT commissioner Charles D. “Chip” Nottingham.

VDOT has received a steady stream of criticism in recent months for failing to adequately fund projects throughout the commonwealth; Nottingham during that time received a cool reception in Richmond when he reported positively on the department’s performance and finances.

Homer did not return phone calls seeking comment.

A month ago, Homer spoke to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors with current legislative liaison Dana Fenton to instruct the county on this year’s happenings with the General Assembly.

Homer told the board that many of the gimmicks in Gilmore’s budget would likely be taken out, replaced by deeper budget cuts.

“The nice thing, there are a lot of Northern Virginians down in Richmond,” said Supervisor Ruth T. Griggs, R-Occoquan. “It’s got to be good for Prince William.”

Northern Virginia has two of the 10 appointments to Warner’s cabinet. Belle Wheelan, president of Northern Virginia Community College, was appointed Secretary of Education, and ex-Fairfax City Sen. Jane Woods was named director of Health and Human Resources.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.

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