Questions that need answering
Published 3:42 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2016
The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors has stated that meetings will be conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order for Small Groups, amending only the section to require a second for motions and that a board member be recognized by the chair to speak. All other rules remain.
My understanding is that for these board of supervisors meetings, an agenda must be published and made available before the meeting and must be approved at the opening of the meeting.
Once that approval of the agenda has been voted on, items cannot just be brought up. That’s a big deal because the public has a right to know what business will be addressed.
Yet, toward the end of the March meeting, Chairman Haywood Hamlet stated “Mr. (Butch) Shook, I believe you had something you wanted to bring up.”
Not only was it wrong to add business after the agenda had been approved, it shows that before this meeting Hamlet knew Shook was going to bring up what has been a controversial item. When was that discussed? You all deny discussing county business outside of a public forum, since that would be incorrect, so how did this happen? Shook then began speaking as to advertising business also being given to The Southside Messenger.
Within a minute, he made a motion which was quickly seconded by Dr. Nancy Carwile. It appeared to be a well-planned maneuver.
Both supervisors Carwile and Shook, and County Administrator R.B. Clark, talked about giving both papers business and being transparent.
Advertising dollars in the first seven months of this fiscal year (July 2015 to January 2016) were as follows: The Southside Messenger 1,377.34 and The Charlotte Gazette/Farmville Newsmedia 1,401.59. So, it’s not that you haven’t been giving The Messenger business all along.
Let me say, I am not against The Southside Messenger, but I am very against business being conducted this way.
You can’t conduct business any way you want. It doesn’t matter how long you have served on this board or what level of education you have obtained, you are not above Robert’s Rules of Order that you have adopted and the Code of Virginia.
Regarding the article last week’s papers by Carwile (“‘Support your local newspapers’”). What the citizens need to know is this: Yes, you can drive to Charlotte Court House, pay $1 and get a copy of a CD to listen to these meetings. Of course, you will also need a CD player or a computer that reads CDs to listen to it.
Other counties — I have researched 59 in Virginia so far — hold meetings at a time citizens can attend and include something about citizen’s comments and other pertinent information in printed form.
Why does this board think they shouldn’t do for taxpayers what all these other supervisors in Virginia counties do?
Our supervisors need to start giving consideration to us taxpayers. They work for the citizens and this is a democracy. They need to conduct business accordingly.
Kay Pierantoni is a guest columnist and a Wylliesburg resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.