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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

"Chicken Sh*t Vote" Leads to Prosecutor’s Pay Raise in Augusta County’s Tense Board Meeting

Written by: Sam Orlando

AUGUSTA COUNTY, VIRGINIA – Yesterday's Augusta County Board of Supervisors early morning budget meeting, held under less traditional circumstances via Zoom without live streaming, culminated in a divisive decision to grant a roughly $15,000 requested pay raise to the Commonwealth's Attorney. This decision, narrowly passed with a 4-3 vote, not only highlighted the unusual meeting conditions but also shed light on the intricate dynamics and pressures facing local governance, particularly with county corruption allegations swirling.

The request for the pay raise, coming from a Commonwealth's Attorney who is generally supportive of the Board, stirred a significant debate among the supervisors. The contention primarily stemmed from the fact that constitutional officers’ salaries are usually determined by the state, coupled with the board's recent history of independently adjusting salaries, as seen with Sheriff Smith's additional funds. However, the underlying tension was palpable, and in the background knowledge that the Commonwealth's Attorney had appointed a special prosecutor to investigate complaints against board members seemed to make some uncomfortable.

Supervisor Gerald Garber's decisive vote, which he self-described as his "chicken sh*t vote of the day," prompted laughter but also speculation. The remark, left without further explanation, has sparked discussions on whether there is a deeper fear among supervisors of further investigations. This scenario underscores the problematic nature of having a county governing board operate under the cloud of investigation, whether at the local, state, or federal level.

The board's decision to approve the pay raise under these circumstances raises questions about transparency and the influence of potential investigations on governance decisions. It reflects the challenges of navigating governance under scrutiny and the delicate balance of supporting county officials while managing public perception and legal obligations.

As the community grapples with these developments, the tension between maintaining a supportive stance towards constitutional officers and the imperative for transparent, accountable governance remains at the forefront. The situation in Augusta County serves as a poignant example of the complexities inherent in local government, especially when faced with corruption investigations and the need to make decisions that could be perceived as self-serving.

Supervisor Garber's cryptic remark leaving more questions than answers, as Augusta County finds itself at a crossroads of governance, transparency, and the pursuit of public trust.

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