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Fauquier Board of Supervisors – Would you want this job?

I have been reading some harsh criticism of the Fauquier Board of Supervisor’s legislative performance and decided to do a review of the years 2003 thru 2012.

My review was based on the belief that there are two aspects to the job the supervisors are elected to do:
1. Manage taxpayer-provided monies to assure maximum value for cost,
2. Manage the County’s infrastructure to benefit all of its residents equitably.

My financial review of the General Fund over the selected period revealed that the cost of governing Fauquier County increased 44% while our county’s population grew 15%. When factoring in population growth, the money spent for each Fauquier resident increased 26%, slightly less than the national inflation rate of 28%. It appears to me that the members have been doing a conscientious job managing our money.

Reviewing how they have managed our county’s infrastructure was a lot more daunting. Going through over 100 meeting agenda posted on the BOS website revealed to me the huge amount of work being done by these elected representatives of the people. What amazed me the most was the almost overwhelming variety of items this group has to deal with on a monthly basis.

Folks, these people are our neighbors! They are not career politicians focused on some nefarious political-career building scenario. We hired them to do this stuff part-time but they end up very often spending 30 to 40 hours per week on our business for what amounts to minimum wage. I guarantee you that no business enterprise the size of our county government is going to pay their managers as little as anything even close to minimum wage.

So how about we work with them in a civil and neighborly way to understand their point of view.

That is not to say that we should just agree with anything in particular that they say or do. What it means is that we should make the effort to provide them with reasoned information that can be used to educate them on costs and consequences we think they may have overlooked.

If you have any doubts about how difficult their job is, go to the BOS website and review some of the hundreds of Past Agendas posted there. Then imagine yourself in their position and ask yourself, would I want this job?

Rex A. Hoover
Sumerduck

Comments

comments

One Response to Fauquier Board of Supervisors – Would you want this job?

  1. Anton Afterwit Reply

    April 5, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Rex – This is a very good post and you have backed it up with some very good facts. I believe you may be on to a few things.

    First, you are right that our citizens should work with the Supervisors. Maybe the problem here is not the position, but the people in the position. Maybe our average citizens are not working or communicating with their Supervisor because they are not treated politely. Maybe it is because they are looked down upon. Maybe it is because when they have reached out they have not gotten a response or the response was one of “my way or the highway”. Maybe instead of having an honest discourse on matters the Supervisors simply say they have to control everything and so we cannot allow liberty for our citizens.

    Second, you bring up a very good point, part time supervisors doing a full time job. Maybe because they are overwhelmed trying to run other businesses and run the County business that they fail to focus on their County duties at times. At the same time, bear in mind the Supervisors are supported by a large County operation that is supposed to do the full-time work of running the County. The job of the Supervisor is not to run the County operations, but one of providing guidance and looking after the interests of their constituents. To be fair though, the hours spent may be self-inflicted. Some of the recent fights with the wine industry and the farmers consumed a vast amount of their time which could have been better spent on other areas.

    Maybe it is time to look at the Supervisor positions and change them to full time positions so the individuals CAN focus on being a Supervisor full time. Off-set this with a reduction in staff and maybe you are onto something. This would allow citizens much more access to their Supervisors, and at the same time allow the Supervisors more time to focus on the citizens.

    I for one would vote to scrap the Environmental Easement programs and instead use that money to pay our Supervisors to be full-time elected officials. Naturally, I would expect more from them and I would expect more respect and more communication from them as well.

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