Shenandoah County supervisors pick leaders, debate rules

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK — The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors picked new leaders at its organizational meeting on Thursday.

Supervisor David Ferguson is the board’s new chairman for 2014. Ferguson succeeds Supervisor Conrad A. Helsley. The board’s vote was unanimous.

However, the board split on its selection of a vice chairman, held last year by longtime Supervisor Dennis Morris. Morris lost his seat representing District 5 to newcomer Marsha Shruntz in November.

Shruntz and newly elected District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey backed Supervisor Steven A. Baker for vice chairman. Ferguson, recently re-elected Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese and Baker voted for Helsley as vice chairman. Helsely, who abstained from voting, is the new vice chairman.

The board then set its calendar to establish dates for meetings and work sessions that will include its work on the fiscal 2015 budget.

The board adopted its meeting schedule and list of holidays for 2014.

Supervisors also debated the adoption of their rules and procedures for meetings. The board voted 4-2 to adopt a draft set of regulations by which supervisors carry out their business. Shruntz and Bailey voted against the adoption, indicating a desire to discuss the rules further so they can have input in their creation.

Bailey made a motion, seconded by Shruntz, to adopt a set of nine rules in place since last year but to table action on a draft of new rules before the board. Bailey and Shruntz said they wanted, as new members, the chance to discuss the rules and any changes they may want to make.

Bailey pointed out that she takes issue with the fact that the rules allow the board parliamentarian to be county attorney J. Jay Litten because he lives outside the county.

At the end of its organizational meeting, Helsley posed the idea of videotaping the board’s meetings for possible broadcasting. Ferguson supported the idea and noted that this would help increase the board’s transparency. Shruntz, Bailey and Neese said they didn’t support videotaping meetings if it costs the county money. Ferguson agreed that he wouldn’t want the county to spend money but suggested they could find other means to videotape the meetings. Ferguson asked County Administrator Mary T. Price to research the idea.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com