Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Spotsy supervisor objects to closed meeting tonight

UPDATE: The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors voted to extend an offer to a candidate for the deputy county administrator position. The board may announce its pick at a meeting Tuesday.

Spotsylvania County Supervisor Benjamin Pitts objected to a closed meeting tonight to interview finalists for the deputy county administrator opening.

That’s because the county Board of Supervisors planned to interview four finalists, which veered from the original plan.

Pitts noted that the board  voted in October to form a committee—which included the HR director, the county administrator and two supervisors—to narrow the applicant pool to three, not four.

“That committee is only authorized to do what this board gave it the authority to do  and not one iota more,” Pitts said. “I cannot support a motion to go into closed meeting to discuss items that this board did not authorize to be discussed.”

He added: “We’re operating on dangerous ground here. A public governing body should do its business under the public arena unless there are provisions that prohibit that.”

Despite Pitts’ objections, supervisors voted 5-1 tonight to adjourn into closed session for the interviews—with Pitts casting the dissenting vote. Supervisor David Ross, who was on the committee that selected the finalists, was absent.

Though he supported the motion, Supervisor Gary Skinner also said he thinks the board deserves to know why there are four finalists instead of three.

County Attorney Jacob Stroman said supervisors could discuss the issue in closed session.

The county received 104 applications for the opening to replace Ernie Pennington, who retired as deputy county administrator at the end of October.

In the past, County Administrator Doug Barnes would’ve chosen his deputy. But supervisors in October voted to expand their hiring authority and appoint the deputy county administrator, the deputy county attorney and all department heads.Previously, supervisors hired just the county administrator and county attorney—as is the case with most boards of supervisors in Virginia.

Pitts and Skinner voted against the new hiring powers, with Pitts calling it micromanagement.

Check back later for more.