Thursday, January 9, 2014
Board leadership for 2014 Manuel Alvarez, Jr., and Susan Lascolette
At its organizational meeting for calendar year 2014 on January 7, the Goochland Board of Supervisors rotated leadership. Manuel Alvarez, Jr., District 2 was elected board chair; Susan Lascolette, District 1, vice chair.
Updated rules of procedure and ethics were also unanimously adopted. (For the full text, visit the supervisors’ tab on the county website www.co.goochland.va.us) Note the date of the initial adoption of the ethics.
Alvarez is the first elected official of Hispanic descent to hold office in Goochland and Central Virginia. (We have despot Fidel Castro, whose repressive communism drove the Alvarez family from its native Cuba, to thank for him being in Goochland.) He served as board vice chair last year in addition to leading the committee that investigated broadband deployment throughout the county. Alvarez actively represents Goochland on regional boards and chairs the Rural Economic Development Committee.
Lascolette, a founder of the Goochland Tea Party, also serves as a legislative assistant in the Virginia General Assembly for 22nd District Senator Tom Garrett, who represents Goochland. Her inside knowledge of the General Assembly is a valuable asset. It’s no accident that legislation helpful to Goochland was passed in 2013.
Both Alvarez and Lascolette bring boundless good cheer and a taste for hard work to their duties as supervisor. Neither shies away from hard questions. They clearly understand that they serve the people, not vice versa.
From the more rural parts of Goochland, Alvarez and Lascolette have a different perspective than 2013 Board Chair Ken Peterson, who represents District 5, the county’s southeast territory. While the Board strives to make decisions that benefit the entire county, switching out the leadership ensures that all viewpoints are examined.
Rotation of the board chairmanship was one of the many campaign promises kept by this group of supervisors.
However, this is not the first time this issue was a fulfilled campaign promise. Things change.
At the 2000 organizational meeting, three votes, including one by a newly elected supervisor, seated a chairman other than the person who held the office for many years. Subsequently, the chair rotated every January. As consequences of the abysmal dysfunction of county government began to bubble to the surface, the rotation ceased. Matters that could have shed light on serious problems were kept off of the board agenda, and out of the public eye, until they festered into major embarrassments.
The importance of citizen engagement in local government cannot be overstated. Under the current board, all meetings are live streamed and recorded, available online for later, and permanent, access. These supervisors want to hear from their constituents and respond to emails and return phone calls. They respectfully listen to each and every remark during citizen comment periods and public hearings. They believe that everyone must be treated with respect.
However, if no one pays attention, opportunities for mischief can creep in.
Right now, Goochland government is well run by people who understand that their power derives from the citizens. Do your part to make sure that does not change! Ask questions, express opinions. Try to attend the period town hall meetings held in each district, and think about what’s going on.