By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors passed a new ethical code, with trouble, at their April 2 meeting.
The ‘Code of Ethics’ passed on a 3-2 vote with concerns the document opened up too many problems for a public relations document.
The document’s original draft had more direct language and was called the ‘Code of Performance.’ Fred Payne, the county’s attorney, felt it was too confusing as a legal document.
“This is what I would call an aspirational document.” He continued, “It does not have any legal standing.”
He later referred to it as a moral document and said it can be used as spin but not as a violation of office.
Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) agreed it could create problems as soon as a supervisor votes against a way a resident wants.
“I think this is just a can of worms,” said Weaver.
The example was based on a few points of the document like promoting the greatest public good. Different parties can think of different public good.
Chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) thought it was better to put how the board aspires to act in an official resolution.
“When you put it in writing and you put it before you, it puts it as another [type of] commitment,” said Booker.
Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) thought the points weren’t anything bad to attach to his name.
“I think it speaks volumes when you put it down and say, ‘This is how we want to act,'” said O’Brien.
Any perceived violation does not bring any discipline to the supervisor.
“This doesn’t mean a thing,” said Ullenbruch.
The idea came from the initial work session the board conducted in January. One of the items included adopting a code of conduct to demonstrate good governance.
Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) voted with Booker and O’Brien to pass the resolution with Ullenbruch and Weaver dissenting.
In other Board of Supervisors action, they for the first time rejected the Aqua PPEA. The first go round with Aqua’s PPEA the supervisors let it be after Aqua announced an impasse. Supervisors then later voted to approve it but there was no agreement from Aqua.
The agreements were rejected on a 5-0 vote.
Supervisors vote 5-0 to declare April Celebrating Children, Fair Housing and Emergency Telecommunications month and a week National Crime Victims’ Week.
County staff briefed the board on a possible plan to move MACAA’s thrift store to the old county operated fitness center in the Carysbrook Gymnasium. This would allow the county to move maintenance operations to the current MACAA building.
The thrift store is in the Carysbrook High School vocational center. It was used for shop classes and is in need of renovation. The current county maintenance facility is scheduled to be torn down in fiscal year 2015.
At the April 9 meeting, supervisors will hold a public hearing on the county budget, tax rates and capital improvement plan. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Circuit Courtroom.
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