King William supervisors sneak around the rules

The folks who attended the King William County Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 24 witnessed history in the making. Speaking of draining the swamp? The board just added slime to the mud.

The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, with apparent approval of our Commonwealth's Attorney, established a new and improved method to get a resolution (county law) put in place without the necessary majority. That's right: We have five supervisors, but now only two orchestrated votes are needed.

This is, for three members of the board, a cleverly simplistic way to get the board’s dirty work conducted — all with a wary eye on the upcoming elections.

This legal but decidedly underhanded way of conducting business in King William allows the chairman — or any other supervisor — to present a motion for a resolution. The motion – that may not have been on the published meeting agenda prior to the meeting – is then presented for a vote.

Now here is the kicker: the chairman then has his motion/resolution immediately seconded by another board member and it carries on the vote of the usual three on the board. Does anyone believe this wasn't carefully rehearsed ahead of time?

So, here is where the magic of the board comes into play, now that they have their new rule: Simply put, one of the remaining board members abstains from voting on the motion. Once a board member abstains, the motion can pass by the vote of only two – as it did this time.

Turning “Robert’s Rules of Order” upside down when few were looking, the chairman and his two compatriots changed how voting on motions is conducted. This contemptible move allows two members to take the heat for any unpopular resolution, while the others can honestly say they didn’t vote for it. “I abstained,” they’ll say.

A very nice trick indeed, especially, when an upcoming election year may find angry voters trying to hold their supervisor accountable for what is going on in the county.

What say you?

Dave Hansen

King William Board of Supervisors

District 4 (Manquin)

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