The Gainesville Times is first out of the gate on reporting the language on the amendments the Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved modifying Supervisor Candland’s motion to eliminate discretionary funds. This collection of items approved by the board, which the Washington Post characterized as “tangential weirdness,” is going to cause some massive headaches for each and every one of this bunch that couldn’t wait until the next board meeting to get this right.
Two of these items are of particular note.
Campaign Contractor Ban
No Board member will employ or retain any full-time or part-time employee on the County payroll who owns, is employed by, or is a contractor to any company which offers services for hire to any political campaign of that Board member
The only individual who I can see this applying to is Reece Collins. Reece worked on Supervisor Candland’s election campaign and now works as a legislative aid in Supervisor Candland’s district office. Reece spearheaded the effort to eliminate political slush funds as well as working on Supervisor Candland’s effort to reign in the budget this season. While other campaign workers have gone on to work in supervisor’s offices, the language here exempts legislative aides who haven’t directly worked for their supervisor in both a campaign and legislative staff role. The language here is a little vague, but it’s pretty clear the intent here was to punish Supervisor Candland for his efforts and remove one of his most valuable employees.
This vague language could also cause some rather troubling unintentional consequences. Any person who has a business relationship of any kind with an entity that provides political consulting services to a supervisor is now verboten. Are you a freelance CPA who happens to have the consulting firm McGuire-Woods as a client? You are now not able to work part-time for a county supervisor, since McGuire-Woods provides campaign consulting. Have you ever catered for a company that offers services to political candidates? You can’t work for that county supervisor who ate a snack. The overly broad language here needlessly restricts the ability of county supervisors to find lawful full-time and part-time staff to perform constituent services, and for no demonstrable reason. Why did anyone think this was a problem in search of such a solution? And why did all but one supervisor jump on the opportunity to put this crazy rule in place, unless the purpose was to exact political revenge?
Campaign Vendor Ban
No Board member will engage or retain any vendor services using County funds where the vendor has been retained or is currently retained by the political campaign of that Board member
This one is even more problematic. This is a lifetime ban on anyone or any company that has ever performed services for a campaign. Did a campaign obtain cellular phone service through Verizon? Then the supervisor cannot use Verizon cell phones in their district office without violating this rule. Did they buy gas at 7-eleven during their campaign? Then no 7-eleven for you after the election. What about the United States Postal Service? Every campaign buys stamps. Now a supervisor cannot buy stamps to send out mailings to their constituents, and must go elsewhere for postage? How about commercial property companies? Do they not offer to rent office space to both campaigns and Prince William County Government? Or electric utilities? Who is going to supply electricity to Prince William County Government now?
This is utterly insane. I can’t imagine what problem Supervisor Jenkins was trying to solve here, since no one has raised the issue of vendors to campaigns being a problem if they provide services to district offices. No one has explained why these proposals required immediate action without any opportunity for public comment and review, or even a chance for county staff to review them for potential unintended consequences for even the duration of the usual recess in between the afternoon and evening sessions of the board. It has every characteristic of an attempt to exact political revenge on someone for being pesky about political slush funds who might have an interest in providing services to supervisors, but I haven’t quite figured out who the target might be yet.
Supervisor Candland’s proposal was all about supervisors using taxpayer money to promote themselves and gain advantage in elections. These amendments to Supervisor Candland’s ban on slush funds have utterly nothing to do with that. This ham-handed and wildly inappropriate attempt to once again exact political revenge on troublesome parties that defend liberty fortunately runs afoul of the legal precept that the plain language of the law, rather than whatever the intent of it was is the rule. If the Board of County Supervisors wants to have district offices vacated from commercial properties, have the electric service for these offices cut off, and ensure that anyone who has demonstrated a keen understanding of public service cannot serve in a district office, than so be it.
Maybe these fools would serve us better if they were huddled around an open fire during the winter and writing legislation with charcoal. That should be fun to watch.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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