Isle of Wight ‘stands in a good place’

Published 11:43 am Saturday, December 31, 2016

As the door for 2016 rapidly moves toward full closure, and this being our last regularly scheduled meeting, permit me to verbalize a few reflections upon these last 12 months, especially from the vantage point of this particular seat.

This has been a year of remarkable change. We experienced eight months of an entirely new interim county administrator who knew few, if any, existing personnel upon his arrival. The particular issues and their history had to be learned by Mr. [Sandy] Wanner upon his arrival. Two weeks preceding his arrival, we welcomed three entirely new members to our board whose task was to, as quickly as possible, grasp the issues at hand. The looming budget, storm water questions, zoning issues, organizational charts, commission, and committees awaited them. In addition to all this, they also were required to immediately move toward the time consuming process of searching for a permanent County Administrator. Our new administrator, Mr. [Randy] Keaton, came on board September of this year.  Once again, the learning curve restarted as he embraced this position.

All this to say our county government has undergone extraordinary changes this past year, certainly unprecedented for my tenure.

Therefore, as chair, I would like to personally commend our staff, all department heads, all county workers in all positions, our previous and present county administrator, our new Board members and our existing board member, for the professional and admirable way the entire year was handled. It is a testimony to your character.

To our new Board members, Mr. [Joel] Acree, Mr. [William] McCarty, and Mr. [Richard] Grice, you had the choice to come in this position and be adversarial, contentious and highly critical. And to make my role quite difficult. You have not taken that route. I would like the public to know you gentleman came on board with a positive attitude, listening ears, a servant’s heart and an industrious work ethic. You, along with Mr. [Rudolph] Jefferson, have made my role, not just easier, but a joy. I am indebted to you. Your gifts, and you all are quite gifted, have been and will be rich assets these next years.

To the citizens, you have dealt with me in the streets, the grocery store, the post office and especially in this Board room with an uncommon grace I am not convinced I deserve. Your conduct, in the midst of passionate, heated issues, has been exemplary, illustrative of how a democracy can and should work. I thank you.

Today, our county stands in a good place. I have no doubt, based on the past, that the future of this place we call home bodes well. It will not be the absence of challenges, but rather the noble undertaking of challenges that will define this board, our entire county staff and the citizens of Isle of Wight during the coming year.

Let us look forward to it with a confident expectancy.

Thank you.

REX ALPHIN is chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors. Contact him at