I couldn’t help but smile at the disordered lawn decorations pictured above as I drove into Shepherdstown last week. For some reason, this display reminded me of some of the recent County Commission meetings, including the one on June 23 called for the purpose of appointing a Commissioner following the resignation of Clare Ath. Despite having eight applicants to choose from, several of whom appeared well-qualified, the Commissioners deadlocked 2 – 2 on a pair of candidates apparently favored for political reasons. With no resolution at this meeting, the Commissioners now await recommendations from the local Republican party — and the Commission’s attorney foreshadowed more potential gridlock ahead as he outlined the uncertainty of determining how a tie might be broken in the next round.
The Board of Education kept to its timetable of appointing a new Superintendent, who starts on July 1. He inherits some big holes from his departing predecessor — literally in terms of the two elementary school construction projects, one of which has yet to even go to bid despite the hoopla of a ground-breaking ceremony over a year ago. The twin challenges of retaining & recruiting staff and addressing the fall-off in student achievement are arguably even more complex. All of these issues will no doubt be topics for the School Board election next May.
At a recent public input session organized by the county’s Planning & Zoning Office, residents offered their thoughts on how the county might manage future growth. One comment in particular summarized the sentiments expressed by the participants — let’s avoid the mistakes that northern Virginia counties have made as their populations have grown. Easy to say, hard to achieve, especially if our county leaders can’t work with each other.By Steve Pearson