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Chairmanships set to rotate next week

A new chairmanship rotation — put in place at the beginning of 2016 for two county boards of supervisors — is set to take its course next week during their annual organizational meetings.

Both Buckingham and Prince Edward Counties last year approved and began utilizing the new system, a process that allows each board member to serve as the locality’s chief elected official.

Both District 101 Farmville Supervisor Howard Simpson, of Prince Edward, and District Six Supervisor Joe Chambers Jr., of Buckingham, will vacate their seats as chairmen.

Howard Simpson

Howard Simpson

The current vice chairmen, Robert M. “Bobby” Jones, who represents the Lockett District in Prince Edward, and R.C. “Bobby” Jones, who represents District One in Buckingham, are set to take the top board spots.

Buckingham’s meeting will take place Monday, and Prince Edward will follow suit Tuesday.

Rather than chairmen and vice chairmen being appointed by through a political process using majority vote, they are now appointed by either seniority or district order, depending on the county.

Joe Chambers

Joe Chambers

According to Simpson, Prince Edward determines the order of chairmanship by seniority. The board member who has been on the board the longest serves for one year, and then is replaced by the supervisor with the second-most seniority. The vice chairman position is filled by the second-most senior member.

District 801 Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones will fill the vice chair seat for 2017, Simpson said, and she will become the chair in 2018.

With the completion of Simpson’s term, his name will be added to the end of the list.

According to the original plan, if there’s two or more supervisors with the same amount of seniority, the board would defer to the lower district number.

R.C. "Bobby" Jones

R.C. “Bobby” Jones

“I’ll open the meeting up and start everything, and then we’ll vote on rotating, putting the other members in (their positions),” Simpson said of the Tuesday meeting.

Buckingham County, however, determines its order by voting districts.

The rotation began with Chambers. Following District Six are 1, 7, 2, 5, 3, 4 and 6 again.

In keeping with the agreed upon order, District Seven Supervisor Danny R. Allen will fill the vacated vice chair seat in Buckingham.

Both Simpson and Chambers have served on their respective boards for 25 years.

Simpson said this is his third consecutive year serving as chair, two years before the added rotation and one year under the change. He was vice chair for 14 years before that.

“I haven’t regretted a day in the last 25 years of being on the board,” Simpson said. “Everyday I know when I get up in the morning that I’m going to be able to help somebody or do something for somebody during the day.”

Robert M. "Bobby" Jones

Robert M. “Bobby” Jones

Even though Simpson will no longer be chairman, he said, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still be there.”