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Letter – Supervisors did the right thing

Dear Editor:

At the March 2020 Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting in the public participation segment, I asked the board to not renew the county administrator, Mr. Bartlett’s contract when it came up in June of 2020. That request was granted at the April 2020 board meeting. The Board of Supervisors did the citizens of Prince Edward County well when they did not renew his contract.

I have had many interactions with Mr. Bartlett over the last decade and have been treated with contempt. I have made numerous Freedom of Information Act requests for information from Mr. Bartlett over the years and when he complied with those requests it was always on the last day in the last hour when he did comply with those requests. The Virginia Freedom of Information statutes require a response in five business days.

It has been my observation that on financial matters, Mr. Bartlett did not perform those duties with integrity. A prime example of that was in the March 2020 Board meeting when there was a public hearing dealing with the transfer of $1.9 million to the IDA for economic development purposes.
In the summary for that hearing Mr. Bartlett wrote, “We have the financial wherewithal to provide the IDA with the requested amount.” Last year, when the rescue squad made a bad financial decision, in that they ordered an ambulance and could not pay for it, I got a surcharge put on my taxes because the county did not have the “financial wherewithal”. There have been numerous tax increases over the years that Mr. Bartlett has pushed through because the county did not have the “financial wherewithal.” So when Mr. Bartlett wants to chase butterflies for economic development, $1.9 million is just laying around in the general fund for those purposes, but no money is available for the rescue squad.

An article in The Farmville Herald, April 17 edition, quoted Mr. Bobby Jones, a supervisor for the Lockett District (Rice), as making a statement that some of his fellow board members claimed that Mr. Bartlett had wasted a lot of money for the county, but Bartlett could only spend what the board voted on.

While it is true that the board has to vote on spending, the board relied on Mr. Bartlett to bring them good information to base their vote on. Mr. Bartlett did not always bring them good information even though he was paid a six figure salary. An example of that was the $5 million that was wasted by the county for a water plant that had no customers and Mr. Bartlett was claiming that it would pay for itself. Mr. Jones voted to waste this $5 million. Mr. Bartlett also pushed the “Road to Nowhere” for a bogus hotel developer and Mr. Jones voted millions to that project that has shown no financial return to the county. Perhaps the voters in the Rice area will vote Mr. Jones out and save the county even more money.

After observing Mr. Bartlett’s actions for over a decade and as a taxpaying citizen that pays thousands of dollars of taxes to the county each year, my impression of what Mr. Bartlett wanted from me and the other citizens of the county was, “You just shut up and send me your money.”

My thanks to the board for taking this action.

 

Sam Campbell

Pamplin