Boyd Elbowing His Way to BoS Chairmanship

Republican Ken Boyd may be the new chair of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, Brandon Shulleeta wrote in the Progress on Saturday, in a rather unusual move. By tradition, members of the BoS take turns being chair, with a process of succession—the vice chair becomes the chair after the chair finishes his turn. The current vice chair is Democrat Ann Mallek, who represents White Hall. The prior chair was Democrat David Slutzky, who just lost reelection. That would normally leave Mallek as chair. That is how the BoS has operated for many decades. But Ken Boyd, who already took his two year turn as chair, wants the position back. (Boyd is running for the Republican nomination to run against Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello, and presumably knows that it looks better to be chair of the BoS than a mere member; Boyd argues it’s a handicap, because being chair would take time away from his campaign.) Boyd argues that Mallek is only halfway through her two-year term as vice chair, and that a year from now, he’ll be happy to let her be chair, although that does nothing to explain why he ought to be the chair right now.

Republican Rodney Thomas, who unseated Slutzky, supports Boyd’s bid; the board’s third Republican, Duane Snow, isn’t saying how he’ll vote. Ostensible Democrat Lindsay Dorrier, a reliable Republican vote, says he hasn’t made up his mind. The remaining member of the board, independent Dennis Rooker, strongly supports Mallek, arguing that if he’d known that it was going to be a partisan matter, Boyd wouldn’t have been allowed to be chair four years ago. The BoS will go into a closed session on January 6 to figure it out amongst themselves.

12 Responses to “Boyd Elbowing His Way to BoS Chairmanship”


  • This post does not give one an accurate portrait of the truth of the matter. First, Ann Mallek was scheduled to be the chair in January of 2011, not 2010. If Ken Boyd were the chairman for one year, Mallek could still be the chairman in 2011 as scheduled. The reason this is an issue is, as far as I can tell, the sitting Chairman of the Board has NEVER lost a re-election and created this situation. What is really happening is letting the unexpired term by decided by an election(if that is indeed what ultimately happens). If Slutsky had been re-elected he would have been chairman in 2010. Chairmen usually serve two back-to-back one year terms after serving an initial 3 year first term.
    So if Mallek becomes chair she will do so sooner than anyone else in the modern era – that is part of the tradition that has gone unmentioned. Which is more important following the tradition of having a more fully seasoned chairman (who would normally have served 50% more time than Mallek will have if she is chosen) or allow Mallek to serve now because a “tradition of succession” is paramount? If that were true than if Mallek were to leave at the end of the month that would mean that Thomas or Snow the next chairman. According to the current tradition it would be.
    Why is this tradition so important anyway; the city doesn’t do it this way. When the new Supervisors ran did they promise they would “honor all unwritten traditions“? Are they remotely bound by a tradition after they promised to shake things and look at things differently than previous boards? When did this become a tradition?
    The crass bit of politics in the whole article is Dennis Rooker, who can’t yet believe he is going to be in the minority .

  • This reminds of of Caravati’s ascendancy over Meredith Richards in the city.
    People should light Christmas trees by tradition.

  • It will be nice to see rooker have less influence on the BOS, and mallek hasn’t quite gotten over the shock of being elected to the bos. I think they should both just sit and be quiet.

  • I wrote: Mallek is only halfway through her two-year term as vice chair

    And you wrote: This post does not give one an accurate portrait of the truth of the matter. First, Ann Mallek was scheduled to be the chair in January of 2011, not 2010.

    So, uh…yeah. And although you wrote “first,” but that was really the only bit of evidence supporting your thesis. The rest of is just you asserting your beliefs about the matter, which is fine, but rather different than me providing an “[in]accurate portrait of the truth.”

    The bullshit thing about what Boyd is doing here is his assumption that if Mallek isn’t the chair then, naturally, it should be him. Why?

    As long as we’re tossing out tradition, why do we need a “fully seasoned chairman”? What’s the secret ingredient in this special blend of spices what requires two years to fully cure supervisor-meat? What happens after just one year?

  • “So if Mallek becomes chair she will do so sooner than anyone else in the modern era – that is part of the tradition that has gone unmentioned.”
    Is this fact or opinion?

  • Waldo wrote initially of a tradition of succession but did not highlight the other side of the equation that Supervisors haven’t become Chairmen till they have finished 3 years of service was my point. I don’t think you were being dishonest just incomplete. It’s still an unwritten tradition so my thesis is just as valid as yours. It’s a matter of which tradition is more valued- I say experience is more important then one’s place in line when it comes to being the chairman of Albemarle County.

    I did find your “cured meat” retort quite funny. But I’m sure you would would admit that the more many meats are cured or wine remains in the barrel the more it tends to be worth or valued. A year more of service is still 50% more than now. I’m not saying my reason has to be better; it seems more in the vein of getting better public servants. But you didn’t answer if it would then be OK if it were Snow or Thomas were next if Mallek were to leave. Or why the city does it the way that they do for Mayor. Is Charlottesville missing out or is Albemarle?

    After reading this blog I would have thought that you would have been the first in line to say that the tradition was silly in the first place, that elections have consequences. I’m curious why you think this tradition is so important.

    It doesn’t have to be Boyd btw, if Rooker had the votes and Mallek still got to be Chairman in 2011 the result would still be the same. Also, all this fuss is just a slow news sideshow and Mallek will be the probably be the next chair any way. Supervisors here seem to be little interested in ruffling feathers, which I think is kind of a shame. You want to cut spending and really show us how to manage a budget but whatever you do, don’t mess with tradition!

    Cville Eye that is what I’m am lead to believe after talking with folks who go back 40 years. I don’t have an online reference to back it up but trust the information I’ve been given. Do you know it to be otherwise.

  • Waldo wrote initially of a tradition of succession but did not highlight the other side of the equation that Supervisors haven’t become Chairmen till they have finished 3 years of service was my point.

    That’s just not true. As you can see, I wrote that Mallek is next in line, but not for another year.

    But I’m sure you would would admit that the more many meats are cured or wine remains in the barrel the more it tends to be worth or valued. A year more of service is still 50% more than now.

    Cure prosciutto for three years and you’ve got something not unfit to feed to hogs. Age your average wine for five years and you’ve got yourself some vinegar.

    What you’re arguing is that we should abandon one tradition while keeping another, without explaining the logic behind it, save through flawed meat metaphors. One we should throw out because hey, why not shake things up the other we should keep. Why?

    After reading this blog I would have thought that you would have been the first in line to say that the tradition was silly in the first place, that elections have consequences. I’m curious why you think this tradition is so important.

    I didn’t state or imply that it is important. I’m in favor of good governance. Whatever route leads to that is A-OK by me.

  • I should have used whiskey or bourbon(or simply said wine and not in barrels) for aging metaphors but aged meats are more valued, aged prime rib or hams that need time to cure (the time spans don’t have to be the same length as service to the county to make the point). But I digress, again.

    You wrote about Mallek’s vice chairman term being unfinished, I was pointing out that she would be the the least experienced chairman (in terms of time on the board) in modern history. You only termed “next in line” a tradition but did not include tradition of the three years before chairmanship. These points weren’t included in the newspaper article either. I do not mean to say it was of malice or attempt to distort the facts.

    I believe the tradition is kind of silly since political leadership is about the will of the people expressed by popular vote. That is how the mayor is picked and the majority leaders,speaker of the house in Congress or Virginia’s assembly. The tradition will probably continue but it has little reason for being. Having everyone take a turn is well mannered but doesn’t seem to very democratic.

    I would liken my reason to that of the current school board and how they have one member who is elected at large. I would really like one at large member of the BOS but I’m not going to get that. Having a Chairman elect by his peers not based on who is next is the best I can hope for.

  • I think what I find so obnoxius about this is really less about tradition but that it, if we’re all really honest here, that Boyd is just showing himself to be a bully. When Democrats won, they could have done the same and put one of their own as chair, but instead they were gracious and followed a non-partisan tradition of allowing everyone their turn.

    I think this whole thing is very telling of Boyd’s character. It is a window into what we can expect for the next few years, and an insight into the candidate that aims to replace Perriello.

    Or, maybe this just illustrates a flaw of the Democrats? It seems that in both national and local politics that Democrats have tried pretty hard to accomodate the minority party when they were in power. Why? It’s clear that Republicans almost never do the same when they are in power. They just steamroll over anyone (and anything) in their way. Should Democrats do the same?

  • I have seen no evidence that Ken Boyd is bullying anyone on the BoS to vote for him. What’s going to happen to them if they don’t? Is he going to beat them up?
    It’s called “politics.”

  • (14:24:11) NBC29: Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd withdraws his name from consideration as chairman of that body; cites time demands of his congressional run.

  • Couldn’t find that reference on NBC 29, but apparently there was an article in the DP to that effect. The DP article though seemed to suggest though that the public controversy over the move had an impact on his decision.

    Regardless, thankfully Boyd sees the wisdom of backing down. Still doesn’t excuse attempting it in the first place… (Of course, it may be that he just didn’t have the votes to actually pull it off…)

    Either way, my own objections are withdrawn.

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