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K.G. board will review by-the-book policy

October 18, 2012 12:10 am


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King George County Supervisor Joe Grzeika pointed out one of the sticking points of an old manual the board adopted this summer.

He told fellow members of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night that he is almost out of business cards. He asked for permission to order more.

"I know it seems trivial, but it is our policy for all board member expenses to be approved by the board in advance," Grzeika said.

He was asking for authorization, he said, because he wanted to "stay in line" with the policy manual.

Supervisors decided in August to bring back a manual from 2001 that's more specific about the responsibilities of each board member.

Supervisor Ruby Brabo started asking this spring for amendments that would guarantee that no supervisor would get information before another and that individuals wouldn't be allowed to make decisions without consulting the rest of the board.

Brabo and Supervisor John LoBuglio later said Grzeika had made what Brabo called "unilateral decisions."

As former County Attorney Matt Britton researched Brabo's request for a change in policy, he found the 2001 manual. Supervisors reluctantly agreed to put it into use again.

On Tuesday, Grzeika said he understood the reason for the policy. It would be awkward for a county administrator if a supervisor came to him and said he wanted a new computer and printer for his board work.

"What's he going to say? No?" Grzeika said, making the point that the manual says any expenditures, large or small, should be approved by the whole board.

Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr. didn't understand the comparison. "What does a computer have to do with business cards?" he asked.

LoBuglio wondered the same thing.

Brooks said he thought it was ridiculous that members couldn't go to a county clerk, as they've always done, and ask for more cards.

"Read the manual," Grzeika said. "You can't order anything."

Brooks brought up the fact that he missed the meeting when the old manual was approved.

Brabo said she pointed out, over the summer, that the manual needed to be updated, but the board decided to go ahead and implement it. She suggested that board members bring any concerns to the next meeting.

Brooks said that wasn't enough. He wanted a work session "to sit down and talk about some of these things that don't make sense."

The supervisors will do that at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 26. That's the same night they're scheduled to meet with Virginia Department of Transportation officials about a project at the intersection of State Route 206 and Owens Road.

In recent meetings, Brabo has repeatedly brought up concerns from residents because the intersection is in her district. She has researched communication between the board from the 1990s to the present and studied traffic statistics, case studies from a transportation guidebook and different diagrams of the project over the years.

She has stressed in recent meetings that VDOT's plan--to add left- and right-turn lanes--doesn't address the safety issues with the road.

"It is apparent that VDOT has failed to hear and discuss the concerns raised by this board and the community," she said Tuesday.

She suggested that the board offer another solution: a roundabout. She shared statistics about improved safety and asked the board to send a letter to each of the county's three representatives in the General Assembly, requesting their assistance.

Brabo also asked that the board hire a traffic engineer to provide an unbiased assessment of the current traffic design versus an intersection with a signal or a roundabout.

LoBuglio agreed with her, but he was the only one.

Supervisor Dale Sisson Jr. said the county owed it to VDOT to see what design changes engineers had come up with. "We have to be careful to not pretend to be traffic engineers," he said.

Sisson said he'd seen the VDOT revisions and that there were significant changes.

That bothered Brabo because, she said, no one else had seen any revised plans. On Wednesday, she asked County Administrator Travis Quesenberry to email VDOT and request copies of the revisions for all board members.

On Tuesday, Brooks said Brabo "kept saying 'I'" when she talked about the Route 206 project. He added: "It's not about 'I,' it's about what we want as a board."

Brabo looked out at those in the audience whose businesses and homes would be affected by the project, and said she'd spoken on their behalf. "You've heard what the other supervisors have said," she said to residents, "and these are the ones you have to convince."

Brooks said, "My God, you've done all you could" except stand in front of the bulldozers when VDOT starts work and shout, "No, no, no!"

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

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