An advertisement placed by the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) Project, which announced the time and place of an open house update on the rail project didn’t sit well with Chesterfield’s Board of Supervisors BOS during their public meeting last week. The meeting is scheduled for February 26 at the Eanes-Pittman Public Safety Building on the Government Complex.
The ad stated that the open house would begin at 5 p.m. with an update for “elected officials” at 4 p.m. At the end of the Wednesday evening session as the motion for adjournment until Tuesday, February 25 was about to be made by Dale District Supervisor Jim Holland.
Dan Gecker, Midlothian District Supervisor interjected, “As you know, the meeting was not on the regular schedule and arose out of an advertisement in the [Chester] Village News suggesting that we were going to have a board meeting at that date and time and be briefed by somebody about high-speed rail.”
Mr. Gecker lamented the cost involved of holding an additional public meeting the night before their regular meeting, mobilizing the board, the county clerk and county attorney among others when the brief could just as easily be scheduled for the regular February 27 meeting.
“I actually question the wisdom of responding to an advertisement in a newspaper and calling a board meeting on that basis,” Gecker said.
Several members of the Board chimed in and began asking who knew about it; was it legal for three of the board members to attend at the same time, which would constitute a quorum. County Attorney Jeffrey L. Mincks told the group that as long as they didn’t conduct or speak to one another about county business, it would be appropriate to attend.
In fact, it was not the intention of SEHSR to have the Chesterfield BOS call an official meeting. When responding to a phone call from the Village News the following day. An official with the agency say it was not written properly in the ad and that it would be changed. The press release, in this issue of the Village News also reflects the new verbiage: Instead of “elected officials,” it reads “local government representatives.”
Board members are not required to attend the 4 p.m. briefing but government representatives are asked to be on hand to answer questions.