Sat09202014

Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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Brabo supporters ask for Grzeika, Sisson to be replaced on boards

Two of Dahlgren Supervisor Ruby Brabo’s supporters publicly attempted to assist her at the last meeting to gain additional influence on the King George Board of Supervisors.

Warren Veazey and Sylvia Hudson appeared at the previous meeting of the board on Nov. 26 and asked during the public comment period that Brabo replace James Madison Supervisor Joe Grzeika on a community relations committee executive board (COMREL) established by the Naval base at Dahlgren.

They also want Brabo to replace either Grzeika or At-Large Supervisor Dale Sisson on the George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC).

Veazey handed in two letters repeating comments to that effect that were signed by them, along with a signature from a third Brabo supporter, Paula Van Alstine.

Veazey lead into his request by criticizing the board for not moving faster to establish a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) with the Naval base at Dahlgren, saying he was “confused” about their inaction, saying they were “sitting on your hands,” since a meeting in October with the base captain and a JLUS expert from the Pentagon.

Veazey said electing Brabo to represent the county on COMREL might be a “possible help in the future,” and added, “Because without the base we would be a tiny little county with nothing special about it, so just don’t see why we’re not trying to protect it more.”

Veazey went on to complain about not being able to get a reimbursement through the George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) for installing solar panels, which had been the topic of a news article in the Free Lance-Star several weeks ago. He also said he had spoken with “several people and groups who feel we are not being well-served by our current reps on the GWRC.” Grzeika and Sisson are the two representatives for the county on that regional body.

He added of Sisson and Grzeika, “I don’t think they are serving the county well at all.”

Sylvia Hudson said she echoed Veazey’s comments, praising Brabo at length and saying she thought most of the citizens like “her communication style.”

Brabo did not refer to the comments from her supporters during her own lengthy board member comments. But Sisson took the opportunity to address some of them. Grzeika was not in attendance, with a rare absence from the meeting.

It is a fact that both Sisson and Grzeika have been reelected to their offices by voters and that also represents the Dahlgren District as the At-large Supervisor.

SISSON RESPONDS
Sisson said he wanted to remind people that Dahlgren falls into two districts. “There is also an at-large district for the county which encompasses everything. And I think that’s one of the benefits. Each part of this county is represented by two members of this board here directly.”

He directed comments at Veazey regarding the JLUS, informing him, “The next step is for us to pass a resolution and kick that off. So it’s not ‘sitting on our hands’.” He added, “We’re on schedule to deal with that and that schedule is proceeding as planned.”

Supervisors are poised to approve a resolution regarding JLUS at this week’s meeting.

In regard to Veazey’s criticism of representation on the GWRC, Sisson stated, “A lot of that is being taken out of context in regard to the grants and how some of that may or may not have worked. As a past chairman of GWRC and a member of that body now for nine years, that organization has struggled to be fiscally solvent and we’ve had situations in the past where the cost of operating some of these grants exceeded their revenues. And that’s an untenable situation that just can’t be sustained.”  

He added, “So about that time some of this was going on we were really taking a hard look at that. That organization was operating off of a line of credit in some areas and had its own challenges to deal with.” He offered to discuss the particulars of that topic with Veazey or anyone at any time.

Sisson also stated, “The regional bodies are an interesting beast. You’ve got a group of elected officials who really are chartered to represent their county as they see fit when they’re put on that board. GWRC is a board of directors that is a chartered organization to run. It has employees, it has a director and it is a fairly complex environment.”

APPOINTMENT FOR TERM
Veazey’s assertion the board would be electing new representatives to the two bodies at their first meeting in January is incorrect.

Brabo, along with the rest of the board members, appointed Sisson and Grzeika to terms-certain last January, with unanimous votes.

That action was taken following discussion and agreement that is was useful to provide continuity for those and several other appointments for regional boards.

For the GWRC, Sisson and Grzeika were appointed to terms that end on December 31, 2015.
For the base’s Community Relations Council (COMREL), Grzeika, with Brabo as Alternate, were appointed to terms which likewise expire on December 31, 2015.

BRABO
Brabo has overtly sought additional influence on, and beyond, the board of supervisors since early in her term.

She spent hours of meeting time over several meetings starting on May 15 requesting a rule change that would provide language to ensure what Brabo called “equal treatment” for board members by county staff and others. She never gave examples of instances of perceived unequal treatment nor whether she meant she wanted more respect.

On Nov. 26, Supervisors did adopt an existing ‘code of ethics’ and ‘standards of conduct’ from a manual. That was a manual that senior members of the board and staff were operating under and assumed was already in effect. (See related article in this issue.)

Phyllis Cook

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