A district’s time to lead

Published 10:24 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors currently operate according to an agreed-upon policy whereby the role of chairperson rotates automatically from member to member, with each of the eight supervisors serving a one-year term.

At the board’s regular December meeting, Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride put forth a motion to amend this policy. Her motion came during the supervisor comments portion of the meeting.

“I move that the board member whose turn has arrived to be board chairman but chooses not to serve has the power to select another individual on the board to take his or her place,” Pride said. “This does not impact the board’s normal rotation in any way.”

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Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Vice Chairman Jim Wilck quickly supported the motion and noted that he thought it was a good idea.

Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. responded by saying that he did not see a need to make a change to the rule, later adding that the established policy “just makes it cleaner, it makes it where there’s no division.”

Ultimately, I agree with Timmons on this issue. There is something especially clean about a standard rotation for the chair position. Making it a supervisor’s choice opens the door for favoritism and could help highlight or deepen factions on the board.

I thought this division Timmons was alluding to was illustrated a bit during his back-and-forth with Wilck. Later in the discussion, Wilck said that the proposed new policy would allow someone who does not want to be chair to select somebody who would do a good job as opposed to just turning things over to the next person in the rotation.

“Are saying that the next person in the rotation wouldn’t do a good job, Jim?” Timmons said. “That’s what you just said.”

Wilck replied, “Well, I’m just saying, I think some people would do a better job than others, Bob.”

I think all parties were being straightforward and honest here, and it did highlight to me how clean the current process makes things.

Additionally, I thought the strongest point in favor of the established policy was mentioned by Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones, who said that the current policy “also gives each district an equal opportunity to have a person in charge.”

I certainly can understand the desire of Dr. Pride or another board member to want to pass on the board chair position and all of the duties that come with it. Supervisors have a lot on their plate already before adding those responsibilities.

However, to Jones’ point, I think it seems most fair that this simply be part of the job for each supervisor so as to give each district that opportunity to lead and influence the board agenda, to select the committee members and to be the face of the county for a year.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.