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Something’s wrong when ... / April 30, 2015

Dear Viewpoint

I wish to complement the editor and staff of the News & Record for publishing my letter last month in its entirety rather than editing out my comments, which while true, may not conform to their opinion as was done by competing media. What was written by me regarding the comments made by Mr. Ted Bennett that can easily be checked as being made by him in the local newspapers.

An article on page 6 in the Wednesday, April 15th edition of the Gazette-Virginian headlined “Census shows county population dropping” from Staff Reports states that “New census numbers indicate Halifax County and neighboring jurisdictions are struggling to hold and attract residences, as the population dropped in Halifax County and almost every nearby locality in the past few years.” As I stated in my letter last month, “If it was not for retiring transplants and returning natives from far flung places seeking homesteads in Halifax county, most of our realtors would be starving to death.” I do not understand why someone in this field would find the truth so offensive rather than an opportunity to join with others to find a way to fix the situation.

The above article indicated that since the 2010 census, the population of Halifax County has declined by some 1,041 from 36,241 at the end of 2010 to 35,200 last year, a decrease of 1,041 persons in 4 years. This is compared to a loss in population of approximately 1,100 from 2001 through 2010, double the earlier rate. My Supervisor, Barry Bank made this point as I noted in my letter last month when speaking to the realtors in Clarksville.

Supervisor Larry Giordano in his letter to Viewpoint in the Thursday, April 2nd edition of your newspaper (a candidate for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors after only one year of experience on the Board) was not present when Supervisor Bank made his comments to the gathering of realtors in Clarksville and as such only speaks from what others, also not in attendance said in an article in the local newspapers. Could the fact that Supervisor Bank backed Supervisor Claiborne against Supervisor Giordano in the election for Chairman have influenced Supervisor Giordano’s opinion?

After reading the local newspapers over the last several months, I have reached the conclusion that the four individuals, Supervisors Bank, Claiborne, Nunn and Pannell, with their diverse outlooks on government responsibilities must have good reason for sticking to their stance on the election of the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. It is evident from the information as a result of the hearing in which the County took sides in a confrontation between Zoning Manager Robbie Love and Finance Director Stephanie Jackson that something is not right in the County Administration. I feel that this was a dispute between two individual employees and the County Administrator should not have involved the County of Halifax in a private dispute. I understand that the County Administrator banned Robbie Love from the Mary Bethune Complex and had a couple of county employees carrying firearms in case Love showed up. Who authorized the carrying of guns?

As for the reaction of Supervisor Davis to Lisa Newbill’s attempted statements, it showed me that something was wrong when a citizen was thrown out for complaining about her treatment by the County Administrator. Even though she was fired from her position with the County Commissioner of Revenue, stopping her from complaining to the Board of Supervisors was not right. I have found out that the Office of the Commissioner is an elected office and is separate from the County. Only the Commissioner should be allowed to fire employees in their office, not the County Administrator.

David Lee Saunders

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