Home » Editorial »Opinion » Currently Reading:

Reform the Government Reform Commission

May 2, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Editorial, Opinion No Comments
malcolm_baldwin

By Malcolm F. Baldwin

Our Board of Supervisors established the Government Reform Commission (GRC) at its first meeting last January, as promised during its election campaign. Opting against broad-ranging bi-partisan participation, the Board appointed an all-Republican commission drawn from developer and other business interests, with no apparent experience in local government to apply to the effort of reforming ours. The Commission’s work assumes the business priorities of the Board.

After considering public and Board suggestions the Commission chose its issues in negotiations with the Board. Its agenda supports two broad objectives and pillars of Republican political philosophy: (1) to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses and developers; and (2) to reduce the role of our local government’s professional staff, while enhancing the power of the Board. Enactment of such changes create other changes: (1) reduced civic engagement in government, and (2) greater risk of abuse by those benefiting from relaxed regulations.

One cluster of Commission actions would consolidate county financial functions, replace the elected and autonomous Sheriff with a Chief responsible to the Board; alter our fire and rescue system to reduce the role of volunteers; create a new structure for Loudoun Water; and stagger Supervisors’ terms.

A second and more immediately important set of initiatives popular with the Board’s business constituency would help shape Board budget actions next year. These include proposals to:

  • Change County planning and zoning processes to achieve more efficient “handling of applications by citizens and entities”;
  • Simplify and/or reduce special exception requirements that are now the public’s best opportunity for comment and engagement on major new development proposals;
  • Reduce or eliminate archeological reviews of developments “in certain cases” (not yet determined);
  • Establish a “system of metrics” to assess government programs, such as a “formulaic construct linked to economic performance, revenue collected, assessed values and/or other such measures that guide and limit” future spending;
  • Contract out or privatize county and/or public school functions “to promote long term savings to County taxpayers and a greater focus on core governmental services,” (emphasis added) by reducing employee costs, dropping county landfill and affordable housing programs, and user fees for using the county’s Geographic Information System; and
  • Determine the feasibility of combining county government and public school system site selection, land acquisition, building construction and certain personnel functions.

Efficiency remains essential to any “core” local government function, but neither our Board nor the Commission considers what constitutes this “core.” Does it include protection of Loudoun’s economically important land, water, cultural, historic or archeological resources? What about programs to address poverty, substance abuse, mental health and other social services? Are these “core” functions?

The Board promises that being business – and developer – friendly will increase the business tax base and relieve homeowner taxes. That will only result if we attract new businesses well beyond the community of developers whose houses don’t pay enough in taxes to cover the service needs they generate.

Will citizens also suffer from lack of transparency and fewer policy checks on abuse within a “streamlined” government? A few signs already look troublesome. Our new Board has reduced public comment time in front of the Supervisors and an audience of other interested citizens and the press. Citizen emails and Supervisor newsletters hardly offer a substitute. Our Board and the GRC strangely ignore a Reagan-Republican reform of cost-benefit analyses with long-term horizons when proposing new regulations or deregulation.

What reforms need attention? We might foster civic dialogue to identify the “core” government functions of our wealthy county. Should we help our less affluent residents optimize their economic security and educational opportunities? How should we maintain the beauty and quality of life that residents and visitors cherish? Do we need a watchdog function – a small, permanent office of accountability — to assess goals, efficiencies, and respond to citizen concerns?

We might start this broader dialogue with a reformed Government Reform Commission.

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Brotherly Love

moore-sobelnewmug

– By Samuel Moore-Sobel There he was. A small, innocent being entering the world for the very first time. Can I touch him? Nervously, I lean forward. He seems so perfect, so completely serene. He is loved instantly. The last …

To The Teen Who Feels Alone

Lunde new

– By Mary Rose Lunde I’m going to do something real here and be honest for a second. In a society where telling someone your deep emotional feelings is considered weak, doing just that seems to be detrimental and could …

Unmotivated Teen

Michael_Pic

– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, At our insistence, our 17-year-old son is going to get a summer job. Well, that’s what he agreed to, but we are two weeks into the summer and guess what … he doesn’t …

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

Smith0035

– By Amy and Dan Smith For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

July 2016
M T W T F S S
27

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

28

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

29

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

30

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

1

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

TGIF - Jake & the Burtones

2

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Ken Wenzel Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

3

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

4

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

5

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

6

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

7

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

8

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

9

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Yard Sale Benefiting EPIC

10

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Moon Music Live at North Gate Vineyard

11

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

12

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

13

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

14

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

15

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

16

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

17

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Quentin Walston Live at North Gate Vineyard

18

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

19

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Paint Your Pint

20

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

21

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

22

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

23

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

24

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

25

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

26

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

27

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

28

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

29

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

30

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

31

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Farmers Urged To Be on the Lookout for Marijuana

23 Jul 2016

blueridge

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this is a growing trend,” said Corporal Barbara Owens of the …

(Be the first to comment)

Bluemont Harvest Ball To Be Held on September 17 in Warrenton

20 Jul 2016

blueridge

To commemorate the organization’s 40th Anniversary, Bluemont has announces the first ever Bluemont Harvest Ball, to be held on September 17 from 6:30 pm to 11:00 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Warrantor. This black tie event will feature live music from the Silver Tones Swing Band, dancing, a four-course, seated dinner, an open bar, and a silent auction. Tickets …

(Be the first to comment)

What Do You Do To Stay Cool?

7 Jul 2016

ice-cubes

– By Amanda Clark “To chill out this summer I will spend a lot of my time playing music. During the summer, I have so much free time and I devote as much of it as I can to playing music.” – Michael Preston (Lovettsville) “To chill out this summer I will go to a friend’s house and borrow their …

(Be the first to comment)

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Around Virginia

Blood Donors Asked To Help Address Summer Shortage

blueridge

Virginia Blood Services is urging Virginians to help replenish an extremely low summer blood supply and asking eligible donors to visit any one of its area Community Donor Centers or mobile blood drives. “Summer is always a challenging time for blood collections,” says Virginia Blood Services Executive Director, Todd Cahill. …

(Be the first to comment)

McAuliffe Announces New Exports for Virginia Lumber Companies To the United Kingdom

McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced new export sales of Virginia wood products to the United Kingdom (U.K.) during a trade and marketing mission to Israel and the U.K. The sales were struck between four Virginia lumber companies and James Latham PLC, one of the oldest and largest wood importers and distributors …

(Be the first to comment)

Governor McAuliffe Announces 105 New Jobs in the Town of Berryville and Clarke County

McAuliffe

Handsome Brook Farm, LLC to Invest More Than $6 Million to Establish Egg Processing Operation in Virginia RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that New York-based Handsome Brook Farm, LLC will invest $6.4 million to establish a new pasture raised egg processing operation in the Town of Berryville and …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

(Be the first to comment)

Everyone’s Getting Into Cannons Action!

6 Jul 2016

cannons

Purcellville Cannons? Baseball July Schedule July 9, 7 p.m. at home Covington? July 12, 7 p.m. away Winchester? July 13, 7:30 p.m. Harrisonburg? July 14, 7 p.m. at home Strasburg? July 15, 7 p.m. at home Woodstock? July 16, 7 p.m. away Front Royal? July 17, 7 p.m. at home …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009