Supervisors elect Booker, Eager for leadership posts

By Heather Michon

New year, new leadership.

Mozell Booker (Fork Union) and Patricia Eager (Palmyra) were elected to serve as chair and vice-chair of the Board of Supervisors at the start of its annual organizational meeting on Wednesday night (Jan. 4).

Mike Sheridan (Columbia), who has served as chair since 2016, suggested Booker be nominated for the position. 

Booker had last served as chair from 2014-2015. Sheridan said he was motivated in part by a conversation he had some years ago with retired Cunningham supervisor Don Weaver, who suggested to him that Booker have one more opportunity to serve as chair, “just in case this is the last rodeo,” he said.

Current Cunningham supervisor Chris Fairchild formally nominated Booker, with Eager providing the second. The motion passed 4-0, with Booker abstaining.

“I’m very honored, and I thank you,” she said following the vote. “I’ll be here for a year, and I’ll do my best for you.” 

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna) nominated Eager for vice-chair, the position he has occupied since 2019. Sheridan seconded the motion, which also passed 4-0, with Eager abstaining.

Once Booker took the gavel, the members quickly approved the year’s meeting calendar and the Board’s bylaws.

Sheridan did raise one point for discussion: the length of meetings.

“When we get past four hours, I just don’t know how productive we are,” he said. His recommendation was that they move unaddressed agenda items to the next meeting.

Booker said that, as chairperson, “I should try to move through in four hours – and Mrs. Eager, as my assistant, can kind of keep me focused – to say we need to end the discussion and come up with some kind of ending resolution.”

County Attorney Fred Payne said one way to do that would be to follow a common practice of not opening discussion on a topic until a motion has been made and seconded. “In my few decades of sitting here, I have repeatedly suggested that you should consider that, and the board has never done it.” 

Fairchild said since they only meet twice a month and often come up against some “beefy issues,” he didn’t want the board to be afraid of having the discussions they needed to reach a decision.

“I get exactly where you’re coming from,” said Booker, “but I do think that as chair I would try to move that along so that everyone does feel comfortable that you’re being heard – but sometimes we repeat what the other person says or states it in a different way, and we need to be conscientious that we’re adding something to the discussion.” 

Fluvanna County Community Center

County Administrator Eric Dahl gave an update on the potential costs required to renovate the Fluvanna County Community Center in Fork Union, estimating the entire project could cost around $650,000. 

Of that, about $250,000 would go to a new roof, $90,000 to replace the HVAC system, and $80,000 for exterior walkways. 

Some other recommendations include updated bathroom fixtures, patching and painting of interior walls and windows, the replacement of flooring and carpeting, and a new audio system for the auditorium.

During the discussion, Fairchild asked what they felt was the goal of the renovation.

“The way it looks says a lot about Fluvanna County,” said Booker, who has been a vocal advocate for renovating the building. “It says ‘Fluvanna County Community Center.’ If you look at other counties, that is the hub of that county, it represents what the county stands for. And I think if we do the things that need to be done and make it more inviting, I think it would be used more.”

The Center is home to the county’s newly-opened commercial kitchen and hosts programs and meetings. Once refurbished, it could also provide a short-term home for supervisors’ meetings, at least until the new county office building near Pleasant Grove is constructed over the next few years.

Dahl said he would work on how to bring the package to the board for a vote, either as a capital improvement project or some other mechanism. It is likely to be part of his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which he will present in the coming weeks.

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