IOW supervisors say farewell to chairwoman

Published 10:11 am Saturday, December 21, 2013

ISLE OF WIGHT—During the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Thursday, members said farewell to JoAnn Hall, chairwoman. The board’s first female supervisor was presented a resolution noting her service.

The mood was bittersweet.

“I’m going to really miss being up there,” said Hall. “Four years have gone by quickly.”

“I hope that I was able to contribute some small bit to making Isle of Wight a better place to live,” she continued. “It’s a hard, difficult time to be on the board of supervisors with the budget woes and the economy in general.”

Hall, who represents the Hardy District, decided earlier this year not to run for a second term. She will be succeeded by Rudolph Jefferson, who ran unopposed.

In spite of the challenges, Hall feels good about her service.

“But it was certainly worthwhile for me,” she said.

Hall, who still has a daughter at Smithfield High School, said, “Schools are so important if we’re going to make the county better in future. I hope the board realizes the importance of the schools.”

With time again available for her family, Hall said she’ll also find something to do outside, such as volunteer work at her church, Trinity United Methodist.

Nor should anyone be surprised if she attends meetings and speaks as a private resident.

Her fellow supervisors praised Hall’s service.

“I think she did a tremendous job,” said Delores “Dee Dee” Darden of the Windsor District. “It was a difficulty year with all the controversy and she handled it well.”

Hall, she added, “is a good leader. I wish she could have served another four years.

“I think she was just getting into her stride. It’s a shame she won’t continue.”

The hullabaloo to which Darden referred was a series of controversial emails circulated privately by fellow supervisor Byron “Buzz” Bailey of the Newport District and Herb DeGroft of the school board. These were made public in late spring at a board meeting.

Hall and Rex Alphin felt compelled to ask for his resignation, which he declined. But Bailey said he has no ill will whatsoever.

“I was the one who nominated her and stepped down so she could become chairman,” he said. “I felt like she would do a good job and be a part of history. We felt like it would be a good thing for the county.

“She did a good job,” said Bailey, who will become board chairman in January.

Al Casteen of the Smithfield District also recognized Hall’s work through difficult times.

“I think she’s done the best she could. Everybody carried their own weight. The last couple of years in particular, we took the group approach to doing everything.”

Alphin, who represents the Carrsville District, also had high praise.

“She was first woman board supervisor and chairwoman. She did an excellent job. Isle of Wight can be proud. She brought a lot to the board,” he said. “She had vision, integrity and courage. For myself, it was an honor to serve with her though those years.”