Using trickery for project is wrong

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019


After reviewing e-mails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that were sent between members of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors and County staff in relation to the proposed juvenile detention facility, I am am very disappointed that some supervisors are not transparent with other Board members, so how can we hope they will be transparent with citizens?
Supervisor [Dick] Grice, with the assistance of County Administrator [Randy] Keaton, Assistant Administrator [Don] Robertson and County Attorney [Bobby] Jones had pre-prepared a motion to be introduced by Grice to transfer county land to the State, before the first public hearing was even held. In an email to a citizen, Grice admitted that none of the other supervisors were aware he was going to make this motion. It appeared to me the other supervisors seemed very surprised at this blindside during the meeting, especially [Don] Rosie and [Joel] Acree. Keaton, Robertson and Jones all knew of this and did not inform the other supervisors they also work for.

I am aware that this may be within the bylaws and rules of the Board, but handling things this way certainly is not transparent or the honorable way any supervisor should conduct themselves. It is a case of Grice knowing the rules enough to walk up to the line and make sure his toes are on, but do not cross that line. In some routine cases this may be acceptable, but in the case of the proposed juvenile detention center with its divisiveness and opposition of the citizens it affects in the county, more than any project I remember in my 61 years here, this is not a routine case.

In my personal rules of the honest way to conduct business, Grice should not have done this, and Keaton, Robertson and Jones had a duty to inform the other supervisors and not allow them to be embarrassed and blind sided in this public forum. If they are not transparent with each other, why should citizens believe they are with us?
I firmly believe it is very unjust for any project to be forced on any area that the hundreds of citizens affected by it oppose. Especially when it is forced on them by elected officials that do not represent them, when the elected officials that do represent them also oppose it. If trickery has to be used to get a project passed, it has to be wrong.

Volpe Boykin