Voters always wonder if someone who has been elected has lived up to their campaign promises. When I ran for the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, one of my campaign promises was to push for and support changing the way we elect our local board.
Traditionally, the board was elected all at once every four years. That is seven districts all going to the polls every four years to elect seven representatives to the board.
I didn’t believe this was a good system for electing representatives because it left open the possibility of electing a completely new board all at once, wiping out any institutional memory from the board. Now that I am on the board and have had daily dealings with past issues, I am even more convinced that this was a vulnerability for the board and the county.
Additionally, electing the whole board every four years meant that the public couldn’t have any direct control over the board except for every four years at election time. I believe that is too long for the public to be disconnected from the board in terms of election.
During my first year on the Board of Supervisors, I voted to institute staggered terms, as allowed by state law, for our board. That change passed and three board members, including myself, volunteered to start the process at our next election.
That means that in 2015, when all of the county goes to the polls to elect representatives from their districts, three districts, mine included, will have supervisors running for a two year term. The other four supervisors will be running for four year terms.
In 2017, the three members who ran for two year terms will be up for election. Those who prevail will serve a four year term, thereby beginning the new tradition of staggered term elections for our Board of Supervisors.
This change will allow the citizens of Augusta to make their voices heard through elections every two years, will maintain institutional memory for each board from now on, and will begin the staggered term process for the Augusta County School Board, as well.
I am very proud that, with the support of the current board, we were able to bring this very important change to the Board of Supervisors and School Board in Augusta County.