Barbara Donnellan, 30 Year Public Servant

barbara_donnellanRetired County Manager Barbara Donnellan remembers her three decades serving Arlington County Virginia and her final five years as County Manager. Ms Donnellan was interviewed by Library Director Diane Kresh and Chief Information Officer Jack Belcher. The interview was conducted on August 25 2015 in the studios of Arlington TV.

  • Served Arlington for more than three decades
  • Championed public-private partnerships
  • A leader in the region
  • County Board plans to name Deputy County Manager Mark Schwartz as Acting County Manager; will conduct national search

“It has been my honor and pleasure to serve Arlington County,” said Donnellan. “While I feel in my heart that I could lead this organization for many more years, it is the right time for me to retire and start a new chapter in my life. We have an excellent leadership team in place and I have every confidence that I will leave Arlington in great hands.”

Named County Manager in 2010

In October, 2010, the County Board named Ms. Donnellan County Manager. Under Ms. Donnellan’s leadership, Arlington County has successfully implemented nationally-recognized Smart Growth planning policies and continued the sound financial policies that have earned the County its triple-triple-A bond rating for many years.

She has worked on several key public/private partnership projects for the County, including: Ballston Garage; E-Trade; Shirlington redevelopment; Gates of Arlington; US Airways; Washington Capitals; and Rosslyn BID development.

Ms. Donnellan started her career in County government as Budget Analyst in the Department of Management and Finance (DMF). She also served as Acting Director of the Department of Libraries, and served as DMF Director, before being named Deputy County Manager. Beginning in 2009, she served seven months as Acting County Manager.

“Barbara has been the consummate professional County Manager,” said Mary Hynes, chair of the Arlington County Board. “She has kept her eye on the needs of Arlingtonians — residents and businesses — and given her heart, her intellect, and her passion to serving this community for more than 30 years. All five County Board members are tremendously grateful to her.”

Regional leadership

Ms. Donnellan was a leader in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), which brings together area leaders to address major regional issues in the Washington Metropolitan Region. She served as chair of COG’s Chief Administrative Officers Homeland Security Executive Committee. In Oct. 2014, she received COG’s 2014 Visionary Leadership Award, a prize that recognizes top government officials for their outstanding contributions to metropolitan Washington and their home jurisdictions.

Three governors have appointed Ms. Donnellan to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Resources Authority (VRA).

In 2013, Leadership Arlington awarded Ms. Donnellan its Community Impact Award for her “visionary guidance and dedication to Leadership Arlington and the Arlington Community.”

In 2009, Leadership Greater Washington presented Ms. Donnellan its highest honor —the Fannie Mae Volunteer of the Year Award, honoring her for her role in expanding the Youth Leadership Greater Washington program through enhanced planning, fundraising, and recruiting.