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Brabo’s second attempt to change rules fails

 

Dahlgren Supervisor Ruby Brabo has made two attempts to change the ‘Rules & Procedures’ for the Board of Supervisors. She was stymied with the board split on her proposal with four members at the last meeting, and only John LoBuglio agreeing to amend the rules to include her proposed wording. 

She proposed on May 15 and again at the last meeting on June 5 that wording be inserted as follows. 

“Every Board member has rights equal to every other member of the Board.”

And, “The County Administrator and County Staff to each Board member shall disseminate all original reports, documents and information at the same time. No Board member shall be provided the information in advance of other Board members. No Board member shall be allowed to direct changes to the data in advance of it being disseminated to all other Board members for review.”

WHY?

At neither meeting did Brabo explain her reasoning, or provide any instance of a perceived slight or unequal treatment toward her or any other board member by staff. She also did not say how the wording change would be implemented differently than under the current rules. Nor did she say what the penalty would be if she or another board member perceived an infraction by the county administrator or other staff. 

Brabo instead alluded to unknown “events that have occurred.”

Her prepared statement said, “Mr. Vice Chairman, at our May 15th meeting I requested that the board direct the County Attorney to review our by-laws and bring forward amendments at our next meeting.  It appears that consensus was not given at our last meeting so I re-state my request.  Due to events that have occurred, I once again ask that amendments to our by-laws be considered that state” – At that point she gave the wording as provided above. 

Dale Sisson had a rare absence on May 15 due to a family schedule conflict. He presided at the last June meeting in the absence of Cedell Brooks, when Brabo made her statement again. After she made her statement, he enquired of board members, “On that point there, how did discussion go on the 15th?” 

Joe Grzeika said, “We didn’t do anything.” 

Sisson responded, “Okay. That would be my take on it. I think that’s a slippery slope from some of those comments and I wouldn’t support them. But I wanted to make sure that that wasn’t just an omission.” 

Brabo stated, “I wasn’t sure if it was an omission or not. Because the county attorney had made no comments and the chairman did not bring it back up. I would simply state that these amendments are already stated in other counties that surround us, in their bylaws. That is exactly where I drew them from. And I don’t see the problem with simply asking that everyone be treated the same.” 

John LoBuglio said, “I completely agree with that - what Ms. Brabo just said.”

Sisson responded, “Okay.” To that, Brabo replied to Sisson, “You’re saying you and Mr. Grzeika oppose.” But Sisson stated for himself, “I don’t see a need to pursue that, personally.” Brabo said she disagreed firmly. 

Grzeika pointed out, “We all adopted the rules of this board at our organizational meeting. I’d refer you back there.” Brabo said, “Yes, sir, I’ve read them.” Sisson pointed out they were voted on in January, with Brabo responding, “That is correct. At the time, I didn’t feel there would be a need for such a thing.” 

LoBuglio sided with Brabo, stating, “I believe they can be amended.”

Sisson agreed they could be amended, but noted there was no consensus to do so. He then steered the meeting back to the next item on the agenda. 

THIRD TIME THE CHARM?

It is likewise unclear whether Brabo will make a third attempt to change the bylaws by enlisting Brooks to provide the swing vote. That could happen at next week’s meeting on June 26. 

But Brabo may have already alienated Brooks by tweaking him with an untruth she told at the same meeting when she first suggested the rule change on May 15. 

That was during a lively exchange about the order of the waiting list for unpaved roads in case any funding became available in the next year, during discussion of a proposed Six-Year plan for secondary road improvement. 

Brabo one-upped Brooks by urging that Alden Road (Route 620) in his district be moved up the list.

Brabo falsely stated, “Mr. Brooks, I personally have heard from a number of the residents who live on Alden road. Ever since we first started these discussions they have repeatedly emailed me.” 

Brooks supported putting Alden Road higher on the list noting that it would cost a lot of money. 

A few minutes later, Brooks said to Brabo, “We’ve been pushing for that for years.” He also said, “And those same people who emailed you, you’re telling me, we’ve been working for them for years, and they didn’t say anything to me about it, so I guess you’re their supervisor now.”  

However, Brabo could not produce any emails from residents on Alden Road because she never got any. 

When Brabo finally admitted that last month in response to a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request for the cited emails, she wrote The Journal saying she “mispoke” and then added, “So, there are no e-mails regarding Alden road.” 

Brabo said she had a record of one phone call on the topic from Sherrie Allwine.

Misspoke has a couple of meanings. A modern meaning has overtaken the traditional meaning that can mean mispronounced, used the wrong words, had facts wrong or made a mistake. 

The urban dictionary defines it as “A euphemism used when you have lied and get caught out.”

 

Phyllis Cook

 

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