FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL
By. Neil Williamson, President
Over the weekend, with the news that the Republican Party was not running a candidate in the Jack Jouett District and the window for independents to get on the ballot closing soon, I started to think of the Albemarle County Board Election as “dormie”.
In golf match play, a match is said to reach “dormie” when one of the golfers achieves a lead that matches the number of holes remaining (i.e., three holes up with three holes to play). The best the trailing player can do is tie the match.
The resignation of Scottsville Supervisor Chris Dumler from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors changed that analogy and opens up a number of new mathematical realities.
First, and most obvious, the new majority. Now acting as a five member board, the Republicans (Ken Boyd, Duane Snow, Rodney Thomas) will have a voting block that could overpower the balance of the Board.
The new five member board conceptually could take up the failure of the prior six member board to agree on a chair (3-3). Currently, Ann Mallek serves as chair until the Board appoints a new chair. It is unclear politically is such a somewhat transparent power play would be politically beneficial or detrimental to those Supervisors that are up for reelection in November (Snow, Thomas).
While the chairmanship may or may not be in the near future, the Board must continue to do their work. It will be interesting to see how much consensus building will occur with the 3-2 split.
The five member construct will be short lived as the Board is looking to agree on a replacement supervisor (to serve until Mid November) by July 10th. Both Dennis Rooker and Boyd agreed one of the attributes they were looking for in their “temporary” appointment was someone who was not interested in running for the seat in November. County Attorney Larry Davis indicated such a consideration could be a part of the vetting process but could not be made a requirement.
Perhaps even more interesting than the five member board is the reality that for the 2013 election will mark the first time ever (we think) Albemarle County will elect a majority of the Board of Supervisors. While the Free Enterprise Forum has questioned the wisdom of an even number of supervisors, we are strong proponents for staggered elections. Such staggered terms provide continuity and tend to foster better relationships between the elected officials.
Based on the nominating/election calendar, the Free Enterprise Forum anticipates that party affiliations may not be a part of the Scottsville race. Considering the importance of the issues ahead for the Albemarle County Board, we anticipate at least two “independent” candidates will emerge to compete for the Scottsville seat in November.
It s likely the new BOS math in Albemarle may generate create a significant amount of energy in the 2013 races. Based on the political chatter we are hearing, we anticipate the ballot will be full this November and voters will have choices. The Free Enterprise Forum strongly believes contested races makes better public policy. But I wouldn’t fill out your scorecards just yet.
Neil Williamson, President
Neil Williamson is the President of the Free Enterprise Forum, a local government public policy organization located in Charlottesville. www.freeenterpriseforum.org
Photo Credits: Free Enterprise Forum,