Supervisors again fail to agree on board officers

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County leaders deadlocked on several routine matters Tuesday, leaving their officers and rules in place for the year.

The Board of Supervisors failed to agree on which members would serve as chairman and vice chairman. As a result of tie votes on the matter, District 6 Supervisor Conrad Helsley and District 3 Supervisor Richard Walker retain their posts as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

The board had continued its discussion on the selection officers from its organizational meeting held last week after members failed several times to reach a majority vote on a chairman and vice chairman.

District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey made a motion to nominate Walker for chairman while District 2 Supervisor Steve Baker made a motion to nominate Helsley for chairman. Bailey, Walker and District 5 Supervisor Marsha Shruntz voted in favor of Walker for chairman. Baker, Helsley and District 1 Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese voted in favor of Helsley.

The officers retain their positions if the board fails to vote for one nominee or another, County Attorney Jason Ham said.

Walker claimed that the board needed a change in leadership and that the county government suffered from a lack of communication.

The board also failed on Tuesday to reach a majority vote to establish its rules and procedures for the year. Bailey made a motion to amend the rules by adding term limits for the officers, restricting any member from serving more than one year at a time as chairman. The motion also sought to call for the officers to switch places in the event that the board could not agree on a new vice chairman and chairman. Bailey’s motion received support from Walker and Shruntz. Baker, Helsley and Neese voted against the motion. The tie vote killed the motion. The existing rules and procedures remain in effect this year.

Walker’s effort to put Bailey on the board of the  Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail also failed as a result of a tie vote. Walker argued that Bailey is the only supervisor with experience working in a jail. She had previously worked in the Shenandoah County Jail.

Bailey asked the supervisors who didn’t support Walker’s recommendation why they felt she should not represent the county on the jail authority board. Members did not answer Bailey’s question directly. Baker said he serves on whatever committees he is assigned.

Walker called previous efforts to keep Bailey off the jail authority board “obstructionist.” The county is required to provide three representatives on the jail board – the county administrator, the sheriff and a supervisor. In 2015, Helsley served as vice chairman on the Board of Supervisors while representing the county on the jail panel and continued to serve on the Jail Authority in 2016 while serving as chairman of the Board.

Bailey commented that she did not want the county to have to spend money for its legal council to research whether or not the committee assignments made one year carry over to the next year if the board fails to approve a new set. Bailey asked County Administrator Mary T. Price rather than the county attorney to research the matter.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or