The LGA’s 2012 Finnegan Award for Distinguished Service

By: Andrew McRoberts. This was posted Friday, November 9th, 2012

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At the LGA’s Fall 2012 Conference, I was surprised and proud to receive from the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia its Edward J. Finnegan Award for Distinguished Service.  It is the LGA’s highest honor.  My long-time friends, Walter Erwin of Lynchburg, and Rhysa South of Henrico , presented the award to me.  Water spoke briefly about Ed Finnegan, his life and career, and then Rhysa talked about my local government service, first in private practice, then as assistant county attorney in Arlington, County Attorney in Culpeper, County Attorney in Goochland and now as a local government attorney at Sands Anderson for local governments across the state.  Rhysa asked folks to raise their hands when they knew who the “recipient” was.  By the end, I am told, most all of the hands were raised. 

As a representation of the award, the LGA gave me an enormous plaque with the LGA Board of Directors resolution on it, and issued a press release.  Word spread among local governments through newsletters such as VACo’s County Connections.  My firm, Sands Anderson, congratulated me with a receiption afterwards and two huge banners.  I think my office will fit the plaque.  I’m not so sure about the banners!  The LGA also gave me a gift, a Verizon gift card .  Given the enormous litigation with Verizon in the SCC in 2010-2011 in which we participated as counsel on behalf of 29 Virginia localities, I thought it was an interesting touch of irony.  (I need a new smart phone … mine’s hardly smart at all.)

Many friends, colleagues and clients congratulated me afterwards, telling how well deserved the award was, how they could not think of anyone more deserving.  LGA founder and long-time friend, John Foote told me that my receipt of the award was a “generational shift” from the previous recipients.  Given the fact that I joined the Arlington County Attorney’s Office in 1994 and Ed died in 1993, I never had the chance to meet Ed Finnegan.  That is a shift.  All of the previous recipients knew Ed.

At the reception hosted by Sands Anderson, I spoke with another long-time friend, Liz Whiting, who is Ed’s widow.  I was reminded that she is a former LGA President, served on the LGA Board of Directors and was involved in the process to nominate a young 29-year old Culpeper County Attorney to the LGA Board.  She kindly said that she “had an eye for talent.”  That cannot help but make you smile.

Thanks to the LGA, the Board of Directors, the Awards Committee and all of the folks whom nominated me and supported me.  Thanks to my family for its sacrifice to allow me to serve my clients and be active in the LGA.  Thanks to my law firm, Sands Anderson PC and my clients who allow me the ability to conduct a statewide local government practice.  I am pleased and honored and blessed.

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