Supervisors’ split leaves IDA lineup intact

WOODSTOCK – A faction of Shenandoah County supervisors tried unsuccessfully Tuesday to put a new member on the Industrial Development Authority.

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-3 on a motion to appoint Michael Wakeman to serve in the at-large seat on the IDA. Vice Chairman Richard Walker, District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey and District 5 Supervisor Marsha Shruntz voted in favor of Bailey’s motion to appoint Wakeman to the IDA when Vincent Poling’s term expires Nov. 30. Chairman Conrad Helsley, District 1 Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese and District 2 Supervisor Steve Baker voted against the motion.

The tie vote killed the motion. Wakeman, a poultry farmer in District 2, provided large contributions to Bailey’s election campaign in 2013 and has given $2,500 toward her re-election bid this year. Wakeman gave $1,000 to the Shruntz campaign in August. Wakeman ran against Baker in 2015.

Poling said in an email to the Northern Virginia Daily on Tuesday morning that he intends to seek reappointment to the seat. Supervisors appointed Poling, a former county administrator and Strasburg town manager, to his current term beginning Jan. 28, 2014.

Walker and Shruntz spoke favorably of Wakeman. Shruntz called Wakeman a good businessman and asset to the county and the IDA board.

Helsley, once hearing that Poling sought reappointment, said the former county administrator has knowledge and should remain on the IDA if he desires.

But Bailey chimed in, claiming that Poling hasn’t used his knowledge as a member of the IDA. Bailey and Shruntz said the IDA needs a new person serving in the at-large position. Bailey pointed out that in one work session Poling offered to resign from the IDA. At that work session, Poling expressed frustration with the lack of direction by supervisors

Shruntz asked if any members knew how many terms Poling has served. Poling sat on the IDA when he worked as the county administrator.

Poling and other IDA members proposed earlier this summer that the Board of Supervisors help fund a full-time position to handle economic development. Bailey, Shruntz and Walker spoke out against one version of the proposed funding agreement and contended that the IDA should at least cover a greater portion of the position cost given that the authority has money in the bank. IDA board members argued that pulling more funds from its coffers could leave the agency without money for other needs.

The IDA revised its proposed agreement and took it back before the Board of Supervisors. However, by late August, Bradley Polk had announced his resignation and county administration decided to combine the duties of an economic development position with those of the tourism director, Jenna French, leaving the IDA’s proposal in limbo.

Also at the meeting, the supervisors voted to:

• Appoint Jason Smith as interim zoning administrator. Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass explained that the county code calls for the Board of Supervisors to make the appointment, noting that any county employee can be appointed to that position

• Appoint Todd Steiner to the Planning Commission representing District 4. The board voted 4-2 to approve Bailey’s motion. Baker and Helsley voted against the motion. Steiner succeeds Amy Voss-Devito whose term expires Oct. 31.

• Approve the calendar for the county’s work on the fiscal 2019 budget