The newly-elected BoS was sworn into office on Friday night at an apparently pretty posh affair paid for by Suzanne Volpe (R – Algonkian) with unspent campaign funds. The celebration was a break from the traditional ceremony held at the Government center but not from what I observe as a culture of triumphalism. The newspapers are reporting that this new BoS has been very busy. Most alarming was a Leesburg Today report that:
The board’s first meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2, will include the votes on the vice chairmanship and the committee assignments as usual, but the board also will follow through on the formation of the government reform commission. Supervisors said the appointment of members to that group would take place at its first meeting.
This action seems a bit hasty doesn’t it? The BoS hasn’t even met. They are actively developing a strategy to court new businesses but haven’t been outspoken about relationships with ordinary citizens. In its “Choose Wisely” editorial, the Leesburg Today offers good advice regarding the government reform panel:
The work of the panel will only be successful if the right people are tapped to serve. This isn’t the place for political paybacks, partisan hacks or self-serving opportunists. This is an opportunity to get some of the county’s brightest people-students of government, industry experts and finance gurus-around the same table to examine the operations of Loudoun County government in detail, and identify ways to make it function better.
This is a good opportunity to ask the citizens of the county – not politically active people the supervisors already know – to step forward. The least they can do is to try to appear to be free from the influence of “partisan hacks and self-serving opportunists“.
The OpenBand law suit doesn’t help their image. The article reports that five of the Supervisors received large contributions from Bill Dean (OpenBand’s owner) and MC Dean (OpenBand Media’s parent company). The law suit won’t be served if the BoS agrees to renew the cable franchise agreement which guarantees OpenBand (according to my hasty calculations) $400K/month in revenue. This isn’t a bad return for $35K in campaign donations. Will the recipients of campaign contributions recuse themselves from the franchise agreement vote?
We also have the Loudoun Delegation meeting with a highly anti-environmental Chamber of Commerce. It appears that road building and opposition to health care reform top their priorities.
All this activity should raise a red flag. The representatives are going to move fast to favor more of the same development and economic “growth” and political hackery. Their momentum is high and they are taking advantage of the holiday season to sprint ahead of citizen oversight before they “officially” take office. It’s imperative that we form a Citizen Oversight Panel (COP) as quickly as possible. More to follow.