Wednesday, June 23, 2010

News Virginian: Staggered terms need a second look

Tonight is the Augusta Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss staggered terms, an issue most on the board want to sweep under the rug. The meeting is at 7:00 pm at the Government Center in Verona.

Today's Waynesboro News-Virginian had an editorial about this issue that suggested staggered terms need a closer look:
A majority of [Supervisor Tracy Pyles'] fellow supervisors have balked at his suggestion that Augusta begin staggering terms, allowing elections every two years for some members instead of every four years for all. That’s how elections work for the city councils and school boards in both Waynesboro and Staunton. We’re not prepared yet to endorse Pyles’ idea principally because we’re interested to know more about cost. A recent supervisors meeting indicated that question is moot. Supervisors are to decide tonight, but during a staff meeting Monday, four of them said they oppose the idea.
Some of the reasons given by supervisors to oppose staggered terms did not wash with the NV:
Some of the reasoning troubles us. Riverheads Supervisor Nancy Sorrells said politics would impact decisions in a staggered format. “You may not get the wisdom of decisions clear of the political arena.”

Translation: Supervisors will begin making decisions simply based on their desire to win re-election. A better translation: Supervisors fear voters. Good.
After last year's assessment battle when 10,500 citizens signed petitions asking that real estate assessments be rolled back at a time of economic downturn, and after 1,000 residents turned out for a supervisor meeting in March 2009, immediate supervisor elections would have been interesting to watch. And that is what some of the supervisors fear.

Tonight. 7:00. Come see your county government in action.

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