Loudoun Supervisors Pass for Now on Changing Form of Gov’t

Loudoun supervisors showed little interest in major changes to the way the county government operates after getting a report on the options April 20.

Loudoun’s traditional Board of Supervisors-led government, with five countywide constitutional officers, resembles the government that was set up for Virginia counties during Reconstruction in the late 1800s in terms of how power is distributed among elected officials. It has also been modified over time to account for Virginia’s growth and modernization since that era. It is also by far the most common form of county government in Virginia—according to county staff members’ research, 83 of Virginia’s 95 counties use the same system.

But Virginia law also offers other a few other ways to organize the county government, which Virginia’s larger counties are using. Loudoun supervisors in July 2020 set county staff to work looking into those governments, and the process for switching, as an outgrowth of a discussion around starting a county police department.

After hearing about the options, most supervisors seemed content to let the idea rest for now.

“The traditional form of government is malleable enough that we can do what we need to do even as we grow,” said County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).

They were also dissuaded by the difficulty of getting public authorization to change the government. The types of local government that would bring major changes to Loudoun’s organization all require a petition signed by a number of voters equivalent to at least 20% of the total number of voters in the last presidential election—meaning in Loudoun, a petition signed by almost 45,000 people. That is only the beginning of a process that also involves the Circuit Court, at least two ballot questions and immediate local elections.

That would also lead, in many cases, to getting rid of the elected treasurer and commissioner of revenue.

“There is just, to me, not even close to being enough juice for the squeeze here,” said Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn).

Leaving those options aside could narrow discussions back to where they started early in this board’s term, focusing around whether Loudoun should launch a police department to handle law enforcement functions, putting that work under a police chief under the county administrator. The county has contracted the National Association of Chiefs of Police for a report on that, with a preliminary report to county staff expected in November and a presentation to the Board of Supervisors anticipated in February 2022.

That work will include interviewing elected officials and Sheriff’s Office staff, and will present information including a comparison of costs. Even if supervisors decide to launch a police department, the county will still have to elect a sheriff, although that official’s duties could be limited to operation of the detention centers, court security and civil process while police officers handle most law enforcement.

12 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Pass for Now on Changing Form of Gov’t

  • 2021-04-28 at 2:40 pm
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    Thankfully, we still have an elected Sheriff who is able to investigate the possible criminal actions by Loudoun’s Board of Supervisors, Commonwealth’s Attorney and School Board.

    (We aren’t going to forget about that Facebook cabal and their enemies list)

    We don’t need (or want) Loudoun’s Law Enforcement under the control of the BoS. They have managed to screw up everything they touch. Let’s just leave public safety to someone who answers to the voters.

    • 2021-05-06 at 1:25 pm
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      The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department is extremely well run & Sheriff Mike Chapman is correct! We are wasting $500,000 on a study for a problem that doesn’t exist in Loudoun County!

      The BOS wants to create divisive racial issues for their own power grab!

  • 2021-04-28 at 4:17 pm
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    We need to change supervisors from the Chair on down into the seperate districts, not change our form.

  • 2021-04-29 at 9:52 am
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    “The county has contracted the National Association of Chiefs of Police for a report on that, with a preliminary report to…”

    Gee, I wonder what a report from that hyper-partisan group will say.

  • 2021-04-29 at 12:44 pm
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    So, the BoS “contracted the National Association of Chiefs of Police” for a report to see if they need a police chief? Hmmmm, there just might be a little hint of a bias there.

    Sheriff Chapman has been doing an outstanding job. We need a chief law enforcement officer that is elected by the people like no other time in history! The last thing Loudoun needs is a puppet police chief controlled by Democrats who want to eviscerate the law enforcement community.

    • 2021-04-30 at 11:20 am
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      Mr. D just dropped a BLU-82 of truth right there. LE needs to be under the people, not uptight control freak pols.

  • 2021-04-29 at 2:45 pm
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    Loudoun County should move to a police department. There really is no form of checks and balances for this antiquated model of policing. The ratio of citizens that actually vote in local elections is small and of those citizens that do vote, it’s usually along party lines. The elected sheriff is very difficult to replace for malfeasance. Sheriff Chapman is a paranoid, self absorbed politician and runs the sheriff’s department through intimidation. He surrounds himself with the ethically challenged (his close friend and campaign manager and advisor was sent to prison for fraud), and those who refuse to compromise their integrity, get buried.

    • 2021-05-06 at 1:28 pm
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      The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department is extremely well run & Sheriff Mike Chapman is correct! We are wasting $500,000 on a study for a problem that doesn’t exist in Loudoun County!

      The BOS wants to create divisive racial issues for their own power grab!

  • 2021-04-30 at 9:53 am
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    There is no better check and balance than the ballot box.

    Don’t infringe my voting rights by taking away an election.

  • 2021-05-06 at 1:31 pm
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    BOS should be happy with LCSO & stop wasting time & money!!!

  • 2021-05-06 at 6:27 pm
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    Mr. Chapman is clearly out of touch and the wrong person to lead the County’s Law Enforcement in 2021. His opinion for this matter isn’t objective as he wants to preserve his outdated role. The County BOS is elected responsible for ALL aspects of the County affairs—Including public safety. There should be ONE entity that ultimately answers the Voters. Imagine having multiple CEOs of a company! That doesn’t make any sense! Like all the countries in this region—Fairfax, Montgomery, Prince Williams—we should have a professional Police Department that reports to the Elected County Commissioners/supervisors. No need for duplication.

    • 2021-05-07 at 9:43 am
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      If I’m an investor in a company, I can cast a vote for each and every director. Who, in turn, will determine the leadership for the company.

      I CANNOT vote for each and every “leader” who sits on the BoS.

      Why do you want to remove my rights? Other than for pure political gain, of course.

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