Isle of Wight supervisors reorganize
Published 9:44 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016
ISLE OF WIGHT
Rex Alphin of the Carrsville District was voted by his peers to again serve as chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors. This took place on Monday morning, the first workday of the new year and with three new members following the November election. William McCarty represents the Newport District; Richard “Dick” Grice serves the Smithfield District; and Joel Acree stands for the Windsor District.
The decision to keep Alphin as board leader came at the motion of Grice, who wants him for this transitional year.
Resolving the question of vice chairman took a bit of discussion, though. Were Delores “Dee Dee” Darden still in place for Windsor, this would have been her year as chairman, with Rudolph Jefferson of the Hardy District to follow.
McCarty said there was nothing wrong with trying something new in the rotation and put forth Acree’s name as vice chairman, but Jefferson objected.
“I should be offered the same opportunity [to lead],” he said. “Next year is my last year. I plan on running again and winning.”
Acree demurred, and said, “We’ve got a lot to learn.”
When the vote came for vice chairman, he voted along with Alphin and Jefferson against Grice and McCarty; Jefferson is in.
Speaking of appointments, executive assistant Carey Storm was unanimously reappointed as clerk of the board.
In a prepared statement, Alphin read the following at the meeting:
“As we prepare to enter into a new year, I consider it an honor to serve in this role again. To Mr. Jefferson, I thank you for your continuing service and the ongoing excellent relationship I have always had with you. To our new board members, Mr. Acree, Mr. Grice and and Mr. McCarty, I give a hearty welcome and look forward to working with you.
“I personally have never experienced a year on this Board absent of challenges. My expectations are no different for this year. We have just lost 16 years of Board experience and our County Administrator, all in one day. Such a shift in leadership is a challenge for any organization, regardless of its size. “Experience, in my opinion, has always been one of life’s most valuable companions and cannot be bought, by-passed or counterfeited.
“Therefore, I intend to give it my utmost to keep our Board members informed to the fullest extent possible and made aware of any educational opportunities available. I commend our new board members for the steps they have already taken in that regard. It is my intent that all members on this board be treated with fairness, dignity and civility by both fellow board members and the citizens of Isle of Wight.
“To the citizens, it is an honor to serve you. We ask for your patience as we wade into the New Year. If there is anything I have learned, it is that we will not always get it right. That is especially true on a personal level. Most challenging issues take a continual stream of light before some clarity is perceived. Therefore, grant us grace as we work through the issues. Fiscally, we stand in a much more secure place. It is estimated the county will end this fiscal year in the black. This is the first time this situation has taken place since I have served on the board, and it opens doors for future opportunities. I am sure I speak for this Board when I say it is our intent to make the best possible decisions for you, your family and your community. May God give both you, our Board and this county such a 2016 that when we stand in this place, next January, we may say “It was a good year.” Thank you.”
Meeting schedules were also adopted, though Acree asked for a possible change in June due to an obligation; Alphin said the matter could be addressed closer to the time.
Grice asked for an amendment to the bylaws that the public comment period in meetings be moved before the approval of the consent agenda. McCarty said he believes that would “send a positive message to the constituents to hear their voice matters more than our own. It speaks volumes to the public.”
County Attorney Mark Popovich suggested that matter be a part of business in the first full meeting, which will be on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. He said there would still be an opportunity then to make such a decision; Grice withdrew his motion and the bylaws stand in place for now.
Before going into closed session to discuss potential candidates for interim county administrator, Grice said he wanted to add items, including the removal of the once-controversial barrier fence in the board room, an audit and a freezing hire.
Jefferson said, “Should not that be part of the regular business meeting?”
Residents who were present at the meeting were given an opportunity to speak, which included Herb DeGroft, Al Burkhard and Fred Mitchell. The first called for the removal of the railing, and the latter two supported the shifting of public comment ahead of the consent agenda; an extra two minutes to speak from the 3-minute limit was also requested.
Following a closed session, in which no action was taken, the board adjourned. On Tuesday, the announcement came that the board will meet on Monday, Jan. 11, at 5 p.m. in the County Administrator’s Conference Room to interview potential interim administrator candidates.