By Pauline Hovey, Greene County Field Officer
With two incumbents out the door, replaced by citizens without significant board level governing experience, Tuesday’s election (11/8) has not only altered the composition of the Greene County Board of Supervisors; there is the potential it could change the county’s direction as well.
Greene County is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors, four elected to a four-year term by citizens from each of the electoral districts and one elected county wide as the at-large supervisor. Slightly more than 45 percent of voters turned out to elect three supervisors—all of whom are either natives or long-time residents.
As Chairman Steve Catalano (photo left), whose term expires in December, expressed, “My only concern with three new board members coming on at one time is the first budget. It is hard for anyone to walk into a new experience and deal with a $60 million budget two months later.”
Eddie Deane, well-known in the county for his 25 years of charity fundraising through his local band The Deanes, won the only at-large seat over incumbent Carl Schmitt with 55 percent of the votes. Although he recognizes the challenge involved and said he has “a lot to learn,” Deane seems more concerned that many residents are unaware of county decisions and regulations that affect them. Deane hopes to use his position and his familiar face to encourage citizens to be more informed and involved. Also on his agenda: make the county “more business friendly and try our best to satisfy businesses within regulations.
“I’m excited about the responsibility of serving the county and inspiring the citizens to be more informed about their local government,” Deane said. “I’ve been elected to serve as supervisor, but I think it’s a collaborative effort between me and the citizens to work together for the betterment of the community.”
In the Monroe district, David Cox, a 39-year county resident and former dairy farmer, ousted Mike Skeens. Davis Lamb, who currently serves on the Planning Commission and is the only new supervisor with county government experience, won the newly redistricted Ruckersville district seat.
Catalano, who served as chairman for eight consecutive years during his 12-year term, advised the new board, “It is incumbent on the chairman to lead his board through this time, and incumbent on the new members to balance their election promises with reality. That is the challenge for new members.”
Catalano had decided not to seek reelection before his at-large seat was eliminated due to redistricting. As he leaves the board, Catalano added, “My biggest hope is that the water impoundment project continues through the process of obtaining the permit and securing the property. This is an important piece of the puzzle and is essential to the future self-sufficiency of our county.”
Maintaining a high reserve cash position is also important, according to Catalano, who helped turn the county’s precarious financial situation around during his tenure. Based on the county’s current condition, Catalano said he is “satisfied that our county is positioned well for its future.”
The new Board will take office in January.
Pauline Hovey is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org
photo credit: Greene County