At the six-month mark of its term, the honeymoon might be over for the Loudoun Board of Supervisors.
During their past two meetings, the important work of the local government leaders has been overshadowed by partisan battles over hot-button issues that have little impact on areas for which they have responsibilities.
Unfortunately, this type of side-show is nothing new. A Democratic-majority board once made national headlines by adopting a resolution declaring Loudoun as a Nuclear-free Zone. The immediate past board, with all Republican members, added its voice to the national debate by adopting a resolution opposing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Although it is true that to this day there are no nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities in the county, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that either resolution resulted in more impact than controversy.
At each board meeting, supervisors are presented resolutions declaring it to be Such and Such Month. Over the years, some boards issued the ceremonial proclamations sparingly; others seemingly at every opportunity. One supervisor—not wanting to be put in the position of supporting some ceremonial declarations, but voting against others with which he had objections—simply adopted a policy not vote on or sign any of them.
That may be an approach others concerned about becoming involved in frivolous battles may want to consider. One current proposal is to prevent controversial resolutions from making it to a floor vote by requiring endorsement by a majority of members in advance. Giving six Republican members behind-the-scenes veto power over three Democrats is unlikely to de-politicize the disagreements.
As we move closer to November’s presidential election, there will be more pressure on the political leaders in Virginia’s key swing county to help sway voter opinion in favor of their party’s candidate. Supervisors have too much important work on their plates to take on those distractions.