I went to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors http://www.albemarle.org/depar… meeting yesterday in order to show my support for the three proposals that were to be voted on by the board which regarded primarily energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Jefferson Area Tea party had many supporters there in opposition to all of the policies proposed, but I would say there were a fair amount more citizens at the meeting who supported all three measures.
The meeting began at 6 p.m. and allowed for public comment on the proposals as well as the board to discuss amongst themselves their own questions regarding the policies.
The meeting went on for over five hours until finally everything was discussed and voted on, but then something fishy happened.
It is now 11:30 at night and the chairwoman is about to make a motion to dismiss the meeting to the relief of the audience (which by now only about 10% were remaining). However one of the other supervisors put another proposal before the floor in regards to a transportation project that had not been put before the public. The chairwoman reminded him that the rules clearly stated they could not vote on his proposal without violating the rules that they had just agreed upon at their very last meeting. It would also be a disservice to the public as they had no opportunity to review his proposal and add their input in regards to the matter.
That did not stop the other board members as they then asked the county attorney what they needed to do to ignore the rules and vote on the proposal regardless of public input or debate. The attorney stated they first needed to vote to suspend the rules and then vote on the proposal. Despite the objections of Supervisor Rooker and Chairwoman Mallek the vote to suspend the rules passed 4-2 and the proposal was brought forward and voted on with next to no debate and no input from the public (those remaining in the audience had no idea what the proposal was as we all expressed to one another our surprise as to what just happened). It passed 4-2 as well with Chairwoman Mallek and Supervisor Rooker dissenting.
This article helps explain what the proposal was all about http://www2.godanriver.com/new…
The article neglects to mention that there was no public debate, and the board had to suspend the rules in order to take the vote to begin with.
Makes me wonder why they went out of their way to do this in order to avoid public scrutiny.
As for the proposals that were originally proposed and went through public comment and debate among the supervisors, the staff of the county thoroughly researched the proposals and said it was in the county’s best interests to support the following policies. The policies they supported were to accept federal grant in sustainability research and to remain members of ICLEI and the Cool Counties program.
1) The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved to accept the federal grant of close to one million dollars to help to research on how to reach effective means of community sustainability, but only after much opposition from Supervisor Boyd on the matter (odd that he still ended up voting for it).
2) They voted 4-2 to remove Albemarle county from ICLEI http://www.iclei.org/ an organization that provided us with software to help monitor the county’s energy output. Removal from ICELI was completely against the county staff’s recommendations as the perks membership provided was explained by the staff as being the most cost effective plan at measuring energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The facts and figures were nevertheless overruled by certain supervisors’ paranoia that “outside forces” would exert their own influence on the county, along with a view that greenhouse gas emissions and climate change weren’t something to be taken seriously by the board. Chairwoman Mallek and Supervisor Rooker were the dissenters in this matter.
3) The final proposal was whether to remain in the Cool Counties program http://conservationleaders.org… which cost the county nothing to remain apart of, but allowed them the chance to easily collaborate with other counties and cities on how they could best reduce their carbon footprint and other environmental concerns. Chairwoman Mallek proposed that they delay the vote for another date so the board could fully understand the benefits from involvement in the program. My own guess is that if it were voted on then and there it would be another 4-2 decision to remove themselves from the program for the exact same reasons as the other four board members used to justify their votes to remove themselves from ICLEI. The motion passed unanimously and the removal of Albemarle County from the Cool Counties Program was delayed for now.
That pretty much wraps up the June 2011 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meeting. All six hours of it. Elections are coming up in the fall for three of the positions on the Board of Supervisors (Supervisor Boyd, Supervisor Dorrier and Chairwoman Mallek). I’m hoping my fellow Albemarle citizens will take a look at own supervisors and see if individuals who defy their own staff’s research, suspend their own rules at a moments notice, and vote on a proposal without informing the public or allowing any debate in the dead of night, truly represent what is best for their constituents.