LETTER – Chairman’s slight was a personal vendetta

Published 10:35 am Friday, April 2, 2021

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To the Editor:

Not partisan politics but personal vendettas. Partisan politics are usually rooted in some fundamental principle. Vendettas seek vengeance, not resolution. 

Buckingham County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Matthews was aided by Supervisor Donald Bryan in what seemed to be more than an exchange of ideas between peers working for a common goal of a budget for the Buckingham County School System. Bear in mind that Supervisor Donald Bryan is a fifth-grade teacher who is in the employment of the Buckingham County Schools and therefore under the authority of the School Board and Superintendent Dr. Daisy Hicks.

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The chairman sets the standard for the board. Chairman Matthews has set a very low leadership standard for the youth of Buckingham County to follow. The members of this joint budget meeting accepted the agenda according to Robert’s Rules of Order, then Chairman Matthews went on to ignore other procedural rules — including his own board member, Supervisor Joe Chambers, twice calling for a point of order.

Chairman Matthews allowed for a full discussion of non-agenda, non-budget items. There were the letters from parents and the concerns of teachers regarding school issues that were presented by Supervisor Bryan. The letters and school issues had not been presented for resolution through proper school channels.

The disrespect of Dr. Daisy Hicks and women in leadership positions by Supervisor Matthews is not new and shows a glaring double standard for women and for men. In a previous meeting, Dillwyn Mayor Linda Paige was admonished because she had not contacted her supervisor, Donald Bryan, before coming to the board with an issue. However, Chairman Matthews addressed a school issue that a parent in his district had called him about, an issue that he did not take to his District 3 School Board counterpart, Pamela Morris, before bringing it to a budget meeting.  Chairman Matthews seemed to continue to insist that the school board wasn’t available to the people of Buckingham when Morris stated that she had not gotten any calls and that she was available.

In this budget meeting, the accomplishments of the School Board during this pandemic school year were minimized. School budget items were questioned over and over, as if none of the School Board members had ever worked on a school budget. The sour grapes of it all became clear when Chairman Matthews did not want to give teachers a 5% salary increase because his wife never received a 5% raise when she worked for Buckingham’s Schools. Contrast this discussion with the part of the budget meeting to when the Board of Supervisors reviewed their own budget. Their budget discussion tones were calm, and the line items were not given the intense scrutiny of the School Board’s budget. The Board of Supervisors were self-congratulatory on their own perceived accomplishments.

Chairman Matthews continued to show his disrespect of Dr. Daisy Hicks in his email reply to the Farmville Herald. He referred to her as “Daisy.” Since I am older than he is, I guess I should have been referring to him as “Don” regardless of the setting.

Supervisor Don Matthews’ example of poor leadership, sexism, racism and the changing rules of personal vengeance have no place on Buckingham County’s Board of Supervisors. The Buckingham County Board of Supervisor meeting minutes and videos are posted on the county’s website.

Major Joyce A. Gooden,

USAF (Retired)