Board members, staff aren’t politicans

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I can’t help but to respond to last week’s guest columnist Kay Pierantoni, her thoughts on local government and how out of touch she is about how things work (“Are you listening to us?,” May 4). The mere thought of limiting or doing away with travel and education expenses would at the very least cripple our county.

If anything we should be advocating to double this budget item. Our county is in direct competition with 94 other counties as well as 38 independent cities.

We are competing for such things as: grants, road and bridge repairs, additional school funding, public safety funding, recruiting industry to expand our tax base as well as bringing much needed jobs here!  In addition we have to be aware of unfunded mandates (new courthouse) and work with groups like the Virginia Association of Counties (VACO) to stop or limit the negative effects on our taxpayers.

Just like our president and governor travel on trade missions our elected officials and administrative staff have to be able to travel and sell our county to prospective investors. A perfect example of their recent success is our newest industry, the cabinet company located in our industrial park that will eventually employ over 100 people with good-paying jobs.

It is only through traveling to state meetings through the region (Yes, you have to go to them. They don’t always come to you), as well as going to Richmond and even Washington to advocate for what’s in the best interest of our county that we can succeed.

As for compensation, our board members get only a fraction of what they deserve. While they only have a few meetings a month they are really on the job 24/7.

Whether they are in church on Sunday morning, at a local function or trying to enjoy a quiet evening at home they are constantly on call fielding questions, solving constituent problems and, yes, taking complaints. We the people have elected and entrusted them to represent us and do what’s in our best interest. While I don’t agree with every decision and I was adamantly opposed to the courthouse, our board members have to be able to communicate with each other at times on short notice to share information prior to making public decisions.

Ms. Pierantoni, I don’t know where you are from, but I am from Charlotte County, as are our elected officials and county staff. They are our neighbors and our friends, not politicians. They all are devoted to doing what’s in the best interest of our county and SHAME ON YOU for your lack of knowledge and false assumptions.

Walter T. Bailey is a resident from Phenix. He can be reached at phenixchief@gmail.