It’s natural that there should be disagreements on every public governing board. Individuals elected or appointed to these boards bring their own ideas and agendas to their posts and work to get them implemented. This is good for our communities. We need people to ask questions and look at issues from every angle.
Our communities, however, do not benefit when disagreements on issues turn rancorous, comments turn into personal attacks and civility is swept away, leaving a chilly, emotionally charged atmosphere. This has been the case at times at Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors meetings, and was the focus of comments by outgoing Supervisor David Ferguson during his farewell remarks on Tuesday.
“If I was to leave any comments to this board it was to ask you to try to start being civil with one another, to be civil to the employees that work for the county, to be civil to the school system … elected officials and to the administration, and never be so right, or think you’re so right that you can’t be wrong … We need to start turning around the impression that a lot of citizens have of the dysfunction of this board …”
As noted, disagreements are part of the process of governing. But so are civility and respect.