Four constitutional officers announce reelection bid

By Heather Michon

Four of Fluvanna County’s constitutional officers announced their reelection bids on Monday afternoon (March 6).

County Sheriff Eric Hess, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeffrey Haislip, Commissioner of the Revenue Andrew “Mel” Sheridan, and Clerk of the Circuit Court Tristana Treadway met on the front steps of the historic courthouse in Palmyra for the joint announcement.

Each officer took a couple of moments to highlight the achievements of their departments and the professional development of their various staffs.

Sheriff Hess said that he has “a great staff – a young staff that’s going to require a lot of supervision to get them up to speed because they are so young.” 

Over the last four years, Hess said he has also continued with his own professional development, including certification from the Virginia Sheriff’s Institute earlier this year. 

“I look forward to serving the people of Fluvanna for four more years,” he said. 

Mel Sheridan has served as Commissioner of the Revenue since 2004. “It’s just been a real honor for me,” he said. “I grew up here. I watched the people that were in the positions that we’re in. I admired them, I respected them, and I hoped that I can live up to their standards.” 

Sheridan said he was “blessed with a wonderful staff…they’re professional, they’re courteous, they just get the job done for Fluvanna as well as you could possibly ask them to.” All his staffers are working for their Master Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue certifications. “I firmly believe in professional education, but I didn’t have to push them – all I had to do is make it available for all of them, and they took advantage of the opportunity.”

“I have to say, I love this job,” he concluded. “I love the citizens I work with around the county. I really, truly believe that Fluvanna is a great place to work, a great place to live, a great place to raise your family.” 

Clerk of the Circuit Court Tristana Treadway said that since taking her position on January 1, 2016, she had become a certified court manager and a Master Circuit Court Clerk, and all her staff have become Master Deputy Clerks. 

She and her staff have tackled major improvements, including the digitalization of paper records and the migration to an electronic file system. “We also started e-recording, so attorneys can record documents from their offices without having to come in,” she said. “We started doing that in 2020 just before the pandemic, so that was very fortuitous.”

“I’ve lived in Fluvanna my entire life, and I hope to be able to continue in my capacity as Circuit Court Clerk,” she added.

Like Treadway and Sheridan, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip is a Fluvanna native. “I’ve been in this little town a long time,” he said. 

He said his current staff is “by far the most experienced and best staff we’ve had. We focus on victims of crime and getting victims and witnesses to the program, through the crime system, through the court system, with as little trauma as possible.”

The county’s new drug court, a program that helps drug offenders through a structured program that keeps them out of jail and supports their recovery, is now in its second year. “We see. every day, lives that we’re changing,” not just for the participants but for their families and loved ones. 

Haislip said the drug problem facing the entire county was not sparing Fluvanna. “It’s tough when you go to court every day and you’re dealing with a situation where you’re trying to keep somebody alive long enough for them to get better.”

Hess said he had recently spoken to some officials from Albemarle that had sat in on a session of drug court, and they said they had never seen a commonwealth’s attorney, a sheriff, and a chief clerk all in the room and all involved in the process.

 “In Fluvanna County, that’s what you get. We’re all one package.” he said. “No matter where you go, you meet wonderful people who serve Fluvanna County, and they serve them very well.”

Under the state constitution, each county has five elected officers. The commonwealth’s attorney, sheriff, commissioner of the revenue, and treasurer serve four-year terms, while the circuit court clerk serves an eight-year term. 

In an email on Monday afternoon, Treasurer Linda H. Lenherr said she has not yet made a decision on whether to seek another term. Lenherr has served as county treasurer since 1984. 

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