I attended Tuesday’s night’s meeting of the Pittyslvania County Board of Supervisors. A lot of things happened. For one, the county voted to changed the composition and manner in which the members of the Fire and Rescue Commission members are chosen. In the past it was pretty much all up to the Chairman of the Board who would do it, and this caused a bit of controversy when at the end of last year the former Chairman, Bob Warren, replaced a well respected board member after the election results without even informing them, even thanking them for their time, for what appeared to be dubious reasons.
That doesn’t matter now, though, as it is in the past, because as county spokesperson Caleb Ayers explained after the meeting, “under the newly approved structure, there will be a total of 11 voting representatives: 7 fire and rescue representatives, one from each election district of the county, and four citizen representatives from the four quadrants. The fire and rescue representatives are appointed by their corresponding member of the Board of Supervisors. The citizen representatives are appointed by the fire and rescue agencies, whereas before they were also appointed by the Board of Supervisors. A representative from the Board of Supervisors and the President of the Fire and Rescue Association also have non-voting seats. The updated public safety ordinance also stipulates that no County employees can serve on the Commission.”
The members of the commission will be chosen at the March meeting of the county board.
The county board also voted in favor of allowing more trash from outside counties to be deposited at its landfill to generate additional revenue county government. The county has a contract with First Piedmont Corporation to operate the landfill, at a rate of $45 per ton. “The Pittsylvania County landfill is a major asset, and we are using it to generate revenue that helps us pay for needed capital costs that will benefit our citizens,” said Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “We are adding over $400,000 in annual revenue without increasing operating expenses, all while taking just a few years off the landfill’s lifespan.”
At the meeting the board also voted by 4-3 to reinstate a code of ethics for the board. This code of ethics was introduced by former Chairwoman Brenda Bowman several years ago after she learned that most counties have one. In 2018, though, Bob Warren, as Chairman, had it removed. Mrs. Bowman saw that the new board was reintroducing the code of ethics and was surprised it was taken out and came to support putting it back in.
She also made remarks about her experience on the board and then said something that I think is a very widespread feeling now among citizens in the county and people with ties to it, such as in Danville. The past several months has seen moments of discord among board members and one board member even denounced another member as “evil” last month in a Facebook post. People just want the people they elect to work for the good of the county and not engage in petty personality clashes. She put it better than I can in her remarks and knows more about what it is like to be on the board of supervisors than I certainly do. I highly recommend watching what she said. She spoke starting at the 27:43 mark of this video, in what are words of wisdom earned by experience.
The board ended up voting for the code of ethics by a 4-3 vote, with former Chairman Bob Warren and his remaining “team members” voting against it – they called themselves a team last year when, along with two others, they dominated the board of supervisors and county like a political machine.
This is the page of the code ethics that is to be signed by each member to agree to abide to.
I don’t understand why the Warren team wouldn’t agree to this, except to just be in opposition for the sake of it. Maybe that will change at some point, but Warren said at the meeting that there were things other board members were doing that he did not like and that he did not believe lived up to the code of ethics and so he wouldn’t vote Yes for it until everyone else behaved up to its standard.
That seems like odd logic to me. Everyone there, including us in the audience, all stood up before the meeting and said the Pledge of Allegiance. Things like this are to be statements of principles to live up to and honor. If everyone on the board were truly acting like babies as Warren suggested, then perhaps the thing to do would be the one to lead by being the first to sign the code of ethics as a step forward. Fortunately, not everyone on the board is acting out and at this point things are better than they were before and it is really just one board member acting out in recent weeks and he happens to be one of his team members. Most of the supervisors are working together and a lot of good things are actually happening in the county. I took a drive down Berry Hill Road to go to Eden yesterday and there are signs on the road for construction crews to turn into the Mega Park to do work on it. A lot of stuff is going on there.
Here is an update about it on Facebook.
But anyway – go back and listen to Mrs. Bowman’s remarks if you haven’t. Really they are words of wisdom that apply to all current, past, and future county boards no matter who is on them. Perhaps that is the real meaning of a code of ethics – they are bigger than the people who sign them, just as the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence are bigger than the founding fathers – really they made the founding fathers who they were. Ms. Bowman has done a lot for the area over the years, and not just with her service on the Board of Supervisors. I would think her introduction of the code of ethics to the county Board of Supervisors is something people remember from her service on it and something for all who serve on the board to live up to.