Can we, the taxpayers of Prince William County, do away with the Chairman-at-Large position? In these tough economic times it should be a consideration. By conservative estimations, it could save taxpayers around a half million dollars. The position has not always existed and doesn’t appear to have any mandate to continue. Whether or not it can be done away with prior to the 2011 redistricting appears to be a question that deserves an answer. It seems to exist mainly as a position of prestige and apparently as a stepping stone to higher office. But, since the chairman-at-large position doesn’t actually represent any actual Prince William County resident, it should be slated for possible removal in the budgetary process. Any thoughts?

31 thoughts on “PWC Chairman-at-Large Position Cut?

  1. IVAN

    Correction : The PWC Chairman-at-Large does represent at least ONE resident.

  2. Moon-howler

    What are the benefits of having a chairperson-at-large? Lucky Duck had some compelling arguments that I hope he will repost here under this thread. On the other hand, is a chairman at large fluff? What functions does he/she provide that one of the other supervisors tied to a magisterial district could not do?

    A half million dollars is a half million dollars. This might be a good place to start. How many first responders would a half million dollars get the residents of Prince William County?

  3. Chris

    I hope Lucky posts on this thread too. We had several exchanges.

    I don’t feel the population is large enough to support an at-large chairman. If our population were over 500,000 I wouldn’t have a problem with the position. My opinion in this matter would be same the same if Santa Claus were our Chairman. I might also, feel differently if our BOS was full time position, but they are considered part-time.

    I do like the idea of one of the district supervisors being elected by the citizens to be the chair. Furthermore, we have seven districts and there’s no chance of a tie vote with an odd number.

  4. Turn PW Blue

    I’d rather see us expand the number of districts. Local government is supposed to be *local*. That’s not easy to do when your district represents 40,000-60,000 citizens. With the growth in the county over the past couple of decades, the next census cycle may be the time to add another district.

    That said, the Chairman role does serve a purpose. District Supervisors represent their district and their districts needs. Even in a county the size of Prince William there are big differences in what the people of Gainesville district and the people of Neabsco want from their supervisors. The Chair, on the other hand, is *supposed* to represent the best interest of the County as a whole.

    If you eliminate the Chair position, you now are left in a situation where a district Supervisor is elected by the Board to serve as the Board’s chair (since someone has to run the meetings, etc.). That Supervisor is in an interesting position. (S)he has to balance the interests of the district with the interests of the County. Sure, all Supervisors should be doing that, but there are times when the regional interests are at odds with the County interest.

  5. Chris

    TPWB,
    Nice to see you.
    I made a few comments yesterday on the matter. I came to somewhat agreement with Lucky Duck regarding the matter. However, your idea of adding a district is a very interesting one. I like that idea perhaps our district sizes could be more balanced. This is what bugs me about the almighty discretionary funds the should be proportionate to district size, and not the same $400K for each district. I don’t think the Chair should have discretionary funds either, or if they do it should not be that of the other districts.

    Oh, IF everyone did what they were “supposed to and should be doing”. 🙂

    You’ve really got me thinking about where a new district could be born.

  6. ShellyB

    After reading posts on another thread, I have decided the problem is not the office but the office holder. When the Chairman is a hard line radical like Corey Stewart, there are barriers to taking moderate paths.

    Also, because the Chairman is considered the spokesperson, we have a real problem when the office is held by someone who sees no shame in lying.

    And, worst of all, when the Chairman is not a long-time resident, and has no care about the future of this county, we end up being guinea pigs for things that really cannot benefit anyone other than the Chairman’s ambition to run for higher office.

    We have been a doormat / stepping stone for Corey Stewart. Somehow we have to avoid this happening in the future.

  7. Cat Scratch Fever

    ShellyB,
    The Chair would be a perfect place for a true INDEPENDENT.

    I too would much prefer to see the Chairman be a long-time resident, but all politicians including Mr. Stewart need to start somewhere. With that being said, I feel he’s made it abundantly clear he has higher political aspirations. He needs to complete a full term at the local level to have a snowball’s chance in hell, and even then I’m not sure that would be enough to land him a higher office. He might also want to reconsider his “local political adviser” for starters, if he wishes to be truly considered a viable candidate for higher office.

  8. Lucky Duck

    I thought the chair position was valid as a legitimate leader of the BOCS of Prince William. When dealing with other Counties and Associations, it is critical to have a point of contact and an acknowledge leader who represents the needs of the entire County population.

    In addition, as mentioned above, each supervisor is elected to represent their district and the chair has a moral, ethical and legal obligation to the entire County. An allegiance to all as opposed to one District.

  9. TWINAD

    Lucky Duck said:

    “I thought the chair position was valid as a legitimate leader of the BOCS of Prince William. When dealing with other Counties and Associations, it is critical to have a point of contact and an acknowledge leader who represents the needs of the entire County population.”

    I got it now! Lucky Duck is Chairman Stewart! I should have known!

    Just kidding, Lucky Duck!

  10. So am I to understand Stewart makes half a million dollars a year?

    Also….what’s the difference between a Chairman at Large and a Chairman?

  11. Alanna

    No, he has a discretionary fund which pays for office staff, furniture, salary, etc… I did learn that Corey most likely inherited a pretty hefty discretionary fund from Sean Connaughton and there’s a fair amount of curiosity about how that money has been spent.

    Also, I received a phone call today from a very informed reader that has put to rest this notion of being able to remove funding from the chairman-at-large position. Sorry to dash the hopes of anybody but for a minute it seemed like a great way to stop Stewart and save a buck.

  12. ShellyB

    Why can’t the County Executive be the spokesperson? I think Craig Gerhart is a trustworthy person and he comes across as very competent. This is what happens when Board members choose a leader rather than citizens. I’m not saying change the system, but let’s face it, whatever Republican had run in 07 and 06 for Chair would have won. So it was the PWC GOP that decided our chair.

  13. –Why can’t the County Executive be the spokesperson?–

    Shelly, I was wondering the same thing. It actually makes more sense in some ways because he can be more objective.

    –I did learn that Corey most likely inherited a pretty hefty discretionary fund from Sean Connaughton and there’s a fair amount of curiosity about how that money has been spent.–

    FOIA it.

  14. Moon-howler

    Is it Virginia law that all counties must have a chairman at large?

    I believe Arlington County rotates this position.

    Now I am curious as to why we MUST have one.

  15. Lucky Duck

    Twinad, I diagree with Stewart’s policies and do not support his actions. I am a lot of things, but I am not Cory Stewart.

    The County Executive is not an elected official, that official is appointed. I think a citizen loses something when they can’t disagree with their vote over policies. And if you disagree with the leadership of the appointed County Exec, you have to convice five supervisors to change course, no direct recourse with your vote.

    Each supervisor is a political animal. I think, if one of them are “appointed” or “elected” by the Board to act as a chair, it creates a conflict of interest between acting in the best interest of their specific District or the County as a whole.

  16. Lucky Duck

    Sorry, the County Exec IS AN elected offical.

  17. Lucky Duck

    AH, I am hurting myself typing while playing with a dog…I had it correct the first time!

  18. ShellyB

    Haha, I know how you feel Lucky Duck…

    I just am sorry that it is the way it is. I have so much more respect in Gerhart than Stewart. Why can’t Gerhart have a quote in the newspaper telling the truth whenever Stewart has a quote that is lying and/or embarrassing the county? Or, if not Gerhart, why not one of the Supervisors?

    Even Fox News has both sides of the issue SOMETIMES! In Prince William County we get 100 percent spin, 100 self-interest for Corey Stewart, 100 percent of the time, and no one represents the county.

  19. Lucky Duck

    ShellyB, Mr. Gerhart works for Stewart and the other BOCS members. He will not be critical in public, its not his job. His job is to carry out the mandates of the Board. By protocol, you won’t read any critical comments from Mr. Gerhart, that’s not his style either.

  20. –Each supervisor is a political animal.–

    LOL! I won’t even tell you what kind of images I got from that statement!

  21. Lucky Ducky,

    Sometimes it’s not good enough to just be the good little soldier. We established the concept that ‘just following orders’ is no excuse a long time ago and at great expense. We should not want to repeat the lesson.

  22. TWINAD

    Lucky Duck,

    I know…I just couldn’t resist because I could imagine Mr. Stewart speaking the words you wrote.

    No hard feelings, I was just kidding…I definitely think you are smarter than he is too, after reading so many of your comments.

  23. Elena

    I believe the positon of chairman can be valuable, it just hasn’t happend yet, at least not since I have been here! I believe part of the of the Chair is to set the tone for the county, establish a path or direction. Corey did that, unfortunately, the tone was negative and the path divisive.

  24. inon

    Supervisors make about $40 K and spend far more time than they are paid for in the job. That is why we end up with mostly attorneys, family business owners or retirees in the job. Who else would be able to spend that time away from their regular job for that kind of money? This is not the time to do it with the economy and budget problems, but I have always believed if the salary were higher, maybe more well qualified people might be interested in running because they would be able to use it as their full time job.

    The discretionary fund is much less for the Chairman. I think it is $27K. I would be ok with doing away with all those funds in a tight economy.

    The County Executive being the Chairman would be a DISASTER. That position is not elected and therefore he (or she) could spend your money without ever being accountable to taxpayers.

    The supervisors are district-centric for the most part. We do need a Chairman who is concentrating on the county as a whole instead of his or her own district.

  25. Moon-howler

    Perhaps the chair-at-large needs to take a refresher course in meeting the needs of the entire county. He needs to hear all sides and not just special interest groups.

  26. Lucky Duck

    The first chair was Ms. Seefeldt and she did an outstanding job advocating for the County. She was very well respected throughout the metro area. She had a firm grasp on the issues the County faced back then and worked well. I did, however, vote for Mr. Connaughton when he ran as I thought it was time for a change in direction. I also think he did a very good job as Chair. He too, was very well respected in the area.

    Did I agree with all of the decisions made by both of these chairs? No, but their actions were deliberate, fair and in their opinions, in the best interest of the entire County. Not like we have now.

  27. Marie

    Does the County have a Charter or is there such a thing for a County? I know the City has a Charter and it states what elected positions are mandated.

  28. NotGregLetiecq

    Lucky Duck, don’t be mad at TWINDAD. She was probably poking fun at folks like me who always try to guess the trolls. I know it sounds paranoid at times but I was right about “James.”

    Funny thing is, I was just trying to embarrass whoever James was by comparing him to the second most glaringly obvious idiot imposter on this blog: Elvis.

    Turns out it WAS Elvis!

    Well if you recall, my guess about Elvis was that he was a whining and resentful Greg Letiecq.

  29. NotGregLetiecq

    Lucky Duck, don’t be mad at TWINDAD. She was probably poking fun at folks like me who always try to guess the trolls. I know it sounds paranoid at times but I was right about “James.” Funny thing is, I was just trying to embarrass whoever James was by comparing him to the second most glaringly obvious idiot impostor on this blog: Elvis. Turns out it WAS Elvis! Well if you recall, my guess about Elvis was that he was a whining and resentful Greg Letiecq.

    Elvis showed his cards when he threatened to come to the Dale City economic party and then used Letiecq-like language to give himself an excuse not to show. It had to do with Unity in the Community being socialists. I thought, who else talks like that, and who else would create a character that actually believes that?

    Anyway, Greg Letiecq has moved in permanently to Corey Stewart’s head. That’s why I say we should do anything possible to get rid of Stewart and rob Letiecq of his only remaining influence on our county government.

  30. Moon-howler

    Oh I think any of us here might have an air of outrage if someone suggested that we were Corey Stewart. I would be howling like a wolf.

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