WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors officers remain the same for a second year despite a member’s push for a change.
Supervisors voted 5-1 in separate actions to re-elect Chairman Conrad Helsley and Vice Chairman John R. “Dick” Neese at a special meeting Thursday. Helsley and Neese, along with supervisors Steve Baker, Dennis Morris and Karl Roulston, voted in favor of a motion to nominate Helsley as chairman. District 3 Supervisor Richard Walker voted against the motion.
Supervisors then voted 4-1 in favor of re-electing Neese as vice chairman. Baker, Helsley, Morris and Roulston voted in favor of the nomination. Walker voted against the motion and Neese abstained. Prior to the vote, Walker nominated Roulston to the position but failed to gain a second.
Also at the meeting, the board voted 5-1 to approve its annual meeting calendar. The times for the meetings remain unchanged from the previous year at 4 p.m. on the first Thursday and at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Walker voted against the motion to approve the calendar after commenting that setting the time for the first meeting of the month posed several problems. Many residents cannot make the 4 p.m. meeting because of their work schedules, potentially limiting public attendance and engagement, Walker said, noting that he had heard complaints from constituents about the times. The 4 p.m. meeting often runs close to the Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month, he said, sometimes forcing supervisors to curtail their discussion about agenda items. Walker pointed out that in many cases last year the board didn’t convene for about a month between meetings because of the schedule.
The calendar as approved shows that most meetings occur 20 days apart with the exception of 26 days between the board’s scheduled meetings in August.
The supervisors who disagreed with Walker said they had not heard complaints and had no problems with the schedule. County Administrator Mary T. Price told the board that staff try to plan the agenda at least for the first Thursday of the month so the meeting does not run up against the Planning Commission’s meeting.
Helsley also handed out information concerning the board’s committee assignments. Walker expressed concern with the assignments and said that he felt the board should rotate which supervisors serve on different committees. Rotating assignments among supervisors would give each member an opportunity to learn about the committees and their roles in the community.
Helsley assigned Walker to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in the list adopted by the board Jan. 9, 2018. Other members had more that one committee assignment. Baker has been assigned to three committees; Helsley to three committees; Morris to two; Roulston to two; Neese to two. Last year the board voted 3-2 to approve the committee assignments with Baker, Morris and Neese in favor, Roulston and Walker opposed with Helsley abstaining.