Supervisors skip tradition in picking board leaders

Published 10:44 am Monday, January 23, 2017

When the time came earlier this month for Isle of Wight County supervisors to pick a new chairman and vice chairman, they broke with tradition. Instead of moving on a rotating basis, the board stayed with familiar leadership.

Dick Grice was the only person to make a nomination, and he recommended Carrsville’s Rex Alphin stay on as chairman, to which all agreed.

Grice, who represents the Smithfield District, then nominated William McCarty of Newport as vice chairman, and again everyone said OK. The same went for keeping Carey Mills-Storm as the clerk of the board. The schedule was fixed to remain at meeting the third Thursday of each month, unless circumstances dictated otherwise.

Alphin noted that leadership had rotated among the districts in the past.

McCarty responded, “We’re equal in our vote, our representation. No one is more important than any other,” adding that the chairman’s role is simple: he or she can’t sign papers unless the board gives its approval.

“No one board gets any special consideration,” he continued. “We’re all equal. We should be color-blind, position-blind. We’re here to do what’s best for the citizens.”

Grice also said he sees the chair and vice chair positions as facilitators.

Joel Acree of Windsor District said that ultimately it was more important they concentrate on its business “rather than worry about which person was sitting in what chair on this board.”

Alphin turned to Rudolph Jefferson of the Hardy District and praised his contributions to the county: “You play a valuable role on this board.”

Jefferson’s reaction: “I’m not against change if there’s a reason for change,” and he acknowledged the past tradition, adding that he’s been on the board for four years. “I don’t mind decisions being made at this table. But I am firmly against pre-selection done beforehand This wasn’t any surprise to me today. We laid the groundwork for this last year. But every member here should have an opportunity to chair.”

No more was said on the matter, and the board continued with its work session.