Randall to Crack Down on Last-Minute Agenda Additions

Billing it as the biggest news at a meeting that included votes on Catesby Farm and the county’s workaround to the state’s new proffer law, County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) on Dec. 6 announced a change to how items can make their way onto the Board of Supervisors’ meeting agenda.

From now on, with rare exception, Randall said, anything that doesn’t make it in time to be included in the agenda packet that is published a week in advance of every regular board meeting won’t be added afterward.

The change, she said, is intended to give the public more transparency and supervisors enough time to deliberate their decisions. Currently, changes made after the packet deadline often are not available to members of the public until they walk into the boardroom at the time of the meeting.

“The bigger issue is giving supervisors enough time to digest the information and the fact that, why do we put information out to the public if it’s going to often change?” Randall said. “It’s not really transparent if at the time of the vote, nobody knows what the new amendments are, except for the nine people who are voting.”

Board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn), one of the board’s four second-term supervisors, said the board has seen an uptick in last-minute changes this term. Late changes to agenda items, he said, don’t give supervisors or the county staff enough time to review new information and deliberate.

Buona said the changes usually come either as applicants for permits or zoning exceptions made as 11th-hour efforts to secure enough votes to approve their application, or supervisors take meetings with applicants that spur them. Cracking down on last-minute changes to agenda items, he said, may change how applicants approach the board.

“They’re going to have to come with their best deal sooner in the process, because the chair and the vice chair are in total sync that we are going to start deferring things left and right because we are not going to do last-minute changes,” Buona said. “The only exception is going to be if there’s something super critical. We plan on enforcing this strictly on both applicants and the board.”

“I have a feeling that I’ll probably be tested a couple of times, and after a couple of times of me saying ‘yeah, that’s not going on the agenda,’ what will be on the agenda will be what’s in the package,” Randall said.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

6 thoughts on “Randall to Crack Down on Last-Minute Agenda Additions

  • 2016-12-14 at 7:53 pm
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    An insight: Watched a bit of the Board of Supervisors’ December 14 meeting, and what did I see: Chair Randell proudly stating that her “new” policy of “transparency” will allow we, the citizens, time to weigh in on matters before the Board that were popped on the Board at the last moment. Sounds great, right? Only, then what did Chair Randell say? That, without hearing from us, the citizens of Loudoun County, on such issues, that she had already decided how to vote, before she even heard from the public. So, I guess we really see what the game is. Say to us, the citizens of Loudoun County, that Chair Randell wants us to have all the time in the world to weigh in with our opinions, but that it will have NO effect on her, since she has already made up her mind. Aren’t we lucky, to have such a great transparency game.

  • 2016-12-13 at 8:20 pm
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    Phyllis I like your style and management concept. Transparency is the key word and each Supervisor should avoid any suggestion of any conflict of interest. Suggest the Chair issue a closing date schedule dateline to avoid any misunderstanding. This will assure compliance.

  • 2016-12-13 at 7:19 pm
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    So, if Chair Randell sticks with it, it may be a good idea. But, will she. For her short time on the Board of Supervisors, Chair Randell seems adept at making bold policy statements, and then afterwards not following them.

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