District 4 candidates offer insight before election

Cindy Bailey

Shenandoah County voters in District 4 hit the polls on Tuesday to pick their Board of Supervisors representative.

Candidates running for Districts 1, 4 and 5 responded by email recently to a series of questions ahead of Election Day. District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey is running for a second term on the board. Karl Roulston is seeking his first term as supervisor. Bailey and Roulston are running as independent candidates.

District 4

Full name: Cindy Bailey.

Age: 51.

Karl Roulston

Family: Husband Scott, three children, four grand-children.

Education: Studied toward Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, attended trade school for construction estimating, graduated Fairfax County Police Academy.

Length of time in county: Born and raised in Shenandoah County – 40 years total living in the county.

Occupation or, if retired, most recent job: Retired captain, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office.

How would you prioritize the county’s spending of its tax dollars?

It would not go for new school buildings, or to purchase development rights, or to expand the RSW Regional Jail. We must take care of education, fire and rescue, and law enforcement, landfill, and other services. Rather than expand payroll of county government, insist on improved efficiency including the merger of data systems.

When would you authorize salary increases for county government employees and would you support across-the-board raises or adjustments based on merit?

We simply must have private sector job and business growth. Increasing private sector revenue would help fund across-the-board cost of living increases and merit adjustments without increasing taxes. Win-win for the community. Shenandoah County leaders have been saying we need new business for more than 30 years. The same people in key leadership roles passing cost-prohibitive regulations and tax increases have discouraged any new businesses and caused established businesses to close their doors. The chairmanship controls the agenda and fields calls from businesses interested in moving to Shenandoah County. Common sense tells us a change in chairmanship means growth for our county.

Where do you feel the county should spend the money collected through rollback taxes?

It should go into the general fund for core government services, education, fire and rescue and law enforcement. After all, it was meant to cover the cost of increased demand in these services due to development.

Would you give up your annual stipend paid to each supervisor to help cut spending and, if so, where would you recommend the county allocate the money?

Gladly, if the top earners in each county department including the schools agreed to the same decrease in their salaries. The additional money would benefit school capital improvement projects and security, volunteer fire and rescue and law enforcement. We simply have more government than we can afford and must develop the discipline to control spending through line-by-line analysis of our budget.

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Full name: Karl Roulston.

Age: 56.

Family: Married, four children, two already graduated from public schools, two still in public schools

Education: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Business Administration.

Length of time in county: 19 years.

Occupation or, if retired, most recent job: Managing partner, Regulus Group, radar engineer; founder of Pollywog Place; founder of Woodstock Brewhouse.

How would you prioritize the county’s spending of its tax dollars?

That is a very interesting question because our current budgeting methodology is more of an incremental budgeting approach as opposed to a priority driven budget. Our existing budget methodology is to take the previous year’s budget and use that as a spend plan for the current year, and modify that spend plan based on expected revenues. This “old school” approach is workable if expenses and revenues are stable, but presents challenges when expenses are increasing and revenues are declining.

I would like to take a more practical approach to budgeting that provides more focus on achieving results. Shenandoah County priorities are already established in the comprehensive plan so that is where our tax dollars should be spent. But we need to get out of the old methodology of trying to maintain the same levels of service across the board with decreasing revenues. We need to focus on doing what is important well and cutting back on the rest. To accomplish that we need to prioritize our services, understand our actual revenues, and establish accountability based on the expected results for the funding provided. A priority-driven budget is how our county should invest our resources to meet our citizens’ objectives. It articulates why the services we offer exist, the price of the services, and what value they provide our community.

Accountability should not simply be the ability to stay within the allocated funding; it should be achieving the objectives that were the basis for the budget allocation.

When would you authorize salary increases for county government employees and would you support across-the-board raises or adjustments based on merit?

There are two types of salary increases in the workforce, cost of living raises and merit increases.

A cost of living raise provides a salary increase to keep up with inflation. So, although it is an increase in salary, it keeps the employee revenue neutral. Put another way, every year a county employee does not get a cost of living raise, they have taken a pay cut. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, I do not think it is unreasonable for a county employee to expect a cost of living raise.

The merit increase is a pay increase based on job performance so it is unreasonable to talk about an “across-the-board” raise based on merit. In fact, when merit increases are handled as an across-the-board increase, it has a demoralizing effect on the workforce and can generate a less productive workforce. But the frequency and amount of merit increases don’t have to be the same as a cost of living increase and I think they should be discussed annually during the budget process.

Where do you feel the county should spend the money collected through rollback taxes?

I think the funds collected from rollback taxes are county resources and should go in the general fund for allocation. I don’t think these funds should be considered any different than any other resources the county collects and should be made available for the county to use where the county needs to use the funds.

Would you give up your annual stipend paid to each supervisor to help cut spending and, if so, where would you recommend the county allocate the money?

I would certainly be open to the discussion of reducing or eliminating the annual stipend paid to supervisors to help with county resources. I would expect those resources would go to the general fund.

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