The Prince William Board of County Supervisors, after playing games last time to forestall the inevitable day of reckoning on conflicts of interest, is now set to vote next Tue., Aug. 7, on Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland’s resolution.
This was not without additional gamesmanship, however, as once again the county “forgot” to include his resolution on the agenda circulated to the BOCS nor was a copy of it included, either. It has made it onto the agenda just released to the public, though. (An initial “glitch” kept the text of the resolution from being accessible, but that has now been rectified.)
Think that is the end of things? Not by a long shot. As the Sheriff of Nottingham has posted and I have independently confirmed, County Attorney Angela Horan is providing political cover in advance to board members to vote against the conflict of interest resolution via an opinion that the Board cannot restrict its members from voting on anything. Who requested this opinion and why? Did she take the initiative to draft such an opinion that wasn’t called for by any supervisor? Very doubtful.
The resolution makes a lot of sense and Horan’s reported opinion doesn’t hold water (shocking, I know, given that she is apparently giving the BOCS such sound advice on how to circumvent Virginia’s Open Meetings law.)
Okay, if some Board members don’t like that they would be barred from voting on matters where they have a conflict of interest, then I would suggest the resolution be amended by striking the word “barred” and replacing it with “encouraged to recuse oneself.” At the same time, I would like to see Board members be required to publicly declare during the meeting just prior to a vote any conflicts they may have. Then everyone will know and be able to judge for themselves whether a supervisor should be voting on a particular matter or not. That kind of transparency is what we need.