Supervisor believes Bailey, DeGroft should stay

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Editor’s note: Isle of Wight Board of Supervisor Al Casteen of the Smithfield District read the following statement last Thursday during a board meeting.

by Al Casteen

Small wonder that folks hold politicians in such low esteem. Anything to save them, preferably by blaming someone else, is the normal long heralded strategy. Admitting any error or failures on their own part is practically unheard of.

There was an attempt last Saturday to throw me under the bus as well. Supervisor [JoAnn] Hall told The Daily Press she talked with County Attorney [Mark] Popovich and County Administrator [Doug]] Caskey about stopping [Byron] Bailey’s emails. According to the article, they agreed to contact me to talk to him about it. Saturday was the first notice I got that they had discussed it at all and I got it by reading the newspaper! If the county attorney or the county administrator had concerns, they should have immediately contacted Mr. Bailey. They both work directly for him and the rest of the board. Why Caskey and Popovich both chose not to contact me is yet to be explained, as I was the chairman of the board at the time. Supervisor Hall did email me, but made no mention of having talked with the County Attorney or County Administrator. If I had known Caskey or Popovich had concerns, I would have taken action, but since County Attorney Popovich also got the email and had not contacted me I presumed he had no concerns.

Mr. Bailey compounded Mr. [Herb] DeGroft’s poor judgment regarding spreading political jokes, even though it was in the height of the political season and similar jokes had to be flying around the Internet. It still was wrong and both have admitted it and apologized for their actions.

For some board members to suddenly be outraged by a fellow board member’s mistakes, six months after the fact, is completely explained by the abovementioned strategy. To be so enraged six months later one would think they might have at least directly contacted their fellow board member at the time of the first incident. Didn’t happen. In hindsight, I, too, failed Mr. Bailey by not contacting him at the first incident. I’m sorry, Mr. Bailey.

For the Hardy district supervisor to call for the resignation of the Newport district supervisor without so much as mentioning the Hardy school district representative who SENT the emails to the Newport supervisor is pure hypocrisy, and such stunning arrogance is proof positive that most politicians will continue to adhere to the policy of “I did nothing wrong” soon followed by how someone else is completely responsible and should be shot at dawn.

Mr. Bailey and Mr. DeGroft did make mistakes, but they didn’t blame anyone else. By not blaming others, they can’t be real politicians. I still think we should keep them. Honesty and a ready willingness to admit mistakes in judgment and quickly apologize are traits seldom seen in too many people; particularly politicians.

AL CASTEEN is chairman for the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors and represents the Smithfield District. He can be reached at