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CRC Addresses By-Law Request

FARMVILLE – The Commonwealth Regional Council started working with Buckingham County to improve the County's representation on the organization's Council on Thursday, June 9 during its rescheduled meeting.

Buckingham's County Administrator Rebecca Carter was present for the meeting that started at noon to address any of the members' questions related to the County's request that was made earlier this spring asking the CRC to amend its bylaws allowing someone from Dillwyn Town Council to also participate as an alternate member.

“We have had a problem getting a Board of Supervisor, any Board of Supervisor member, to serve on the Commonwealth Regional Council,” described Ms. Carter to the CRC. “Supervisor LeSueur has agreed to do it but he hasn't attended any meetings, I believe, and it continues to put us out of compliance with the bylaws and regulations with him not being in attendance and each month I go back to get the Board to approve or appoint an alternate and that's not working either.”

“We have Dillwyn Town (Town Council). CRC does a lot of work with Dillwyn and they are very active in the Town, which is part of our county and they have their own Council and so, and this was my idea, in hopes of keeping our membership in CRC to have a representative, if you all would consider to change your bylaws, to have it be an elected official but it could be someone from the Town Council or the Board and it would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors not by the Town Council. Because even for them to tell me to come-that doesn't count because I'm not qualified to serve on your Commonwealth Regional Council.”

At Buckingham's regular Board of Supervisors meeting in April, it was unanimous to reappoint Danny LeSueur as Board representative to the CRC and it was also by unanimous vote to request that the CRC look into changing their bylaws to include that a member of a Town Council be able to serve as a representative for that County on the organization.

LeSueur and Ms. Carter were notified a few months ago that Buckingham was out of compliance with the CRC because Buckingham had not been consistently represented at meetings and that representation was needed in order for the CRC to have a quorum and conduct business.

LeSueur has yet to attend a meeting since being reappointed.

Ms. Carter noted that several of the Dillwyn Town Council members had expressed an interest in serving on the CRC.

“I believe you wouldn't have a problem getting a representative,” she continued.

At that point during the discussion, David Wingold, representative from Lunenburg County, asked Ms. Carter why any of the Board members from Buckingham did not want to serve?

“I have to be completely honest, I don't know,” she responded. “We had John Kitchen come one time and he said he won't come back again…I have trouble getting appointments for other things and for most of those I can go for them and which I do. It's just not with this appointment. It's with all… The ones that will serve are already obligated because they do serve.”

The only concern voiced by CRC Chairman Gary Walker was that although Buckingham only has one town other counties have more that would be impacted by the change in bylaws.

“While you only have one incorporated town, some of us have two and some of us have four,” he said. “How would we manipulate it around so it wouldn't create a problem with our counties?”

Chairman Walker said “we'd like to have representation that is closest to the money” and asked the rest of the members if it would be acceptable if the alternate representative included a staff member from the locality?

“They have more input,” he said about the Board of Supervisors member. “…But also if it was you or your assistant at budget time,” he said to Ms. Carter.

She noted that she'd be interested in attending the CRC meetings and so would her Assistant County Administrator in her absence.

“I would like for it to be someone that is close to that budget,” asserted the Chairman while Melody Foster, regional planner, referring to the organization's current bylaws for clarification.

“Would you like to be on the Board?” asked Ellsworth Bennett, representative from Amelia County of Ms. Carter.

“…Supervisor LeSueur could still be the appointee and I could be the alternate…” Ms. Carter noted about her desire to serve.

When the question arose about having to notify the CRC's participating localities about the possible bylaw change Ms. Foster stated that the CRC's “…Bylaws may be amended, altered or repealed by a vote of two-thirds of members at any regular meeting and at any special meeting provided as to the latter that in the notice of said meeting or in the waiver of notice the nature of the proposed amendment shall be stated. At any meeting, either regular or special, at which all of the members are personally present, these Bylaws may be amended, altered or repealed without any notice whatsoever.”

“It doesn't say anything about notifying them,” she said. “I mean, obviously you want to notify them because you are changing it but you don't have to do it.”

Ms. Carter addressed the possible change and said that her Board meets Monday, June 13 and that she would give them an update about the future decision to change the bylaws that would allow the alternate to be either a Board of Supervisor member or a member of Buckingham's administration staff.

“We don't want to lose Buckingham, no way,” asserted Bennett. “We've lost enough.”

“We're trying to win folks back,” added Chairman Walker.

After some more discussion, the organization fine-tuned the possible bylaw change and put the decision on the agenda for the July 7 meeting.

The change would be to amend the CRC's bylaws to allow that the primary representative be an elected official from the governing body and the alternate member could be an elected official from the governing body or staff member from the county administrator's office.

“It needs to be someone that knows what's going on in the county and that the Board of Supervisors has a relationship with,” noted Chairman Walker about the alternate representatives.

The CRC will make its final decision on the bylaw amendment in July when the new Chairman takes his position.

The organization's new chairman for the fiscal year will be William “Buckie” G. Fore Jr., representative from Prince Edward County.

<center>Meeting Time Change

The CRC also decided to change its normal regular monthly meeting time. The CRC meetings will now be held on the first Thursday of each month at noon. The meetings were previously held at 5 p.m.

Budget Approval

The CRC budget for the fiscal year 2011-2012 was adopted. The budget includes a $449,716 cash fund balance as of July 1, 2011 with $341,221 revenue expected this upcoming year.

The projected expenditures, without a staff reduction, totals $331,425 and the estimated cash fund balance on June 30, 2012 is estimated at $459,512.

The project budget expenditures does not include total accrued leave as a budgeted expense but is considered a contingent liability, noted Ms. Foster, which totals $27,533. And the budget does not include a cost of a new president/CEO.

Mary Hickman is the CRC's acting President and CEO.