Congratulations are in order for Darrell Dalton and Tim Dudley for being voted by their colleagues to serve as Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors (BOS), after their reorganization meeting last week, while thanks are also due to Vic Ingram for his service as Chairman in the past year. Last year, the board was divided into two 4-3 voting blocs that threw the county in chaos for several weeks when Jesse Barksdale resigned. The two groups of supervisors couldn’t agree on a new interim candidate to replace him, so the decision had to be made by a county judge to appoint Robert Tucker for them. Before that, the situation got so bad that one block even boycotted a meeting to vote on one and then shut down citizens from speaking at another meeting about the candidates.
With such a divided board, Ingram managed to hold things together as Chairman, despite occasional smear attacks from some members of the other side that he was on, and their family members, at meetings and on social media. Supervisor Ronald Scearce even went so far as to attack members of the public who did not agree with his side and cast dispersions against a real estate developer new to the area in November, by trying to make it sound like it was sinister that he uses multiple limited liability companies for his businesses, making the county look like a joke.
You can see what I mean in the video of the meeting and the exchange between Supervisor Scearce and the developer starting around the 2:33 mark of the video.
This kind of treatment of someone trying to get a zoning change at a meeting by a supervisor makes the area look backwards. Mr. Scearce was the one creating these “rumors” he refers to at the start of his confrontation with the developer in this video segment. It is normal for a real estate developer or landlord to have separate LLC’s for each property they own. That’s what they do. People who think about coming to the county to do business must shake their head at things like this, and people who live in the county expect their supervisors to act like professionals, instead of fear mongers and bullies.
A challenge the board has faced is hiring a new county administrator. At one point last year, before a scheduled closed session to discuss three finalists for the position, the name of one of the candidates was leaked on social media and the process got derailed. Robert Tucker said that he has sought to bring “unity” to the board and worked to create a compromise at the reorganization meeting so that one member of each group would serve as Chairman and Vice-Chairman. People want the board to be able to come together to make more decisions this year. However, at last week’s meeting Supervisor Bob Warren said that even though he was voting for the compromise he had “reservations” and would hold Mr. Dalton “accountable”, telling him “he wants him to be his own man.” I don’t know why he would say something like that, but if Warren is that wary, we should all be wary, but still be hopeful that they can accomplish some good together.
Despite the divisions, the board was all able to vote together on a balanced budget, with no tax increases, in the face of rampant inflation in 2022. Last year, Vic Ingram also served as Chairman of the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA). At a December meeting, Danville City Council Member Sherman Saunders said “To Mr. Ingram, it has been great working with him; going to these meetings all these years, this has been the smoothest twelve months he has experienced ever.”
Mr. Ingram will continue to serve on the RIFA in 2023 for the county, along with Mr. Tucker, and, even if some individual members of the BOS do not behave better this year, I think we can be certain to continue to see more job growth and development in the area thanks to the efforts of so many in the city and county working together. Maybe the county still needs more “new blood” on the BOS.
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