BOTETOURT – Donna Proffit Vaughn of Eagle Rock was appointed to fill the Fincastle Election District seat on the Botetourt Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon.

Botetourt County Circuit Court Judge Malfourd “Bo” Trumbo appointed Vaughn after the Board of Supervisors in a special called meeting Tuesday morning passed a resolution asking the judge to fill the vacancy.

Donna Vaughn was appointed Tuesday afternoon to fill the Fincastle District Board of Supervisors seat until a November special election.
Donna Vaughn was appointed Tuesday afternoon to fill the Fincastle District Board of Supervisors seat until a November special election.

The seat became open when Don Meredith died last week.

The supervisors voted to ask the judge to fill the seat until November and to issue a writ of election to be held in November when someone can be elected to fill the last year of Meredith’s term, which ends December 31, 2011.

Vaughn indicated to the judge she is not interested in running for the seat.

Vaughn is on the Board of Trustees at Emory & Henry College, is a member of the Eagle Rock Ruritan Club and sits on the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Educational Foundation Executive Committee. She is a member of Galatia Presbyterian Church and is a retired educator from Alleghany County Schools. She also volunteers at the Christian Free Clinic in Fincastle.

She holds a BA from Emory & Henry, a master’s from Hollins College, and certificates of advanced studies from Radford and UVa.

Vaughn is a Buchanan native and is married to retired Eagle Rock Postmaster Steve Vaughn. Their four children attended Botetourt schools and graduated from James River High School.

Vaughn has accepted the appointment during what is expected to be one of the most difficult budget years the county has faced.

While she said she was overwhelmed by the appointment and has much reading to do as she becomes familiar with the position and issues that face the county, she did note she has experience with budgets. She has sat on other boards and currently is a trustee for four trusts that involve budgeting. She also has sat on school budget committees while an educator.

The supervisors had 45 days to appoint a qualified voter from the Fincastle District to fill the seat, but apparently could not agree in their executive session Tuesday on an individual to fill the vacancy and essentially agreed to disagree and ask the court to go ahead and make the appointment. The supervisors’ resolution to ask the court to make the appointment included a request for the court to act before the supervisors’ January meeting to draw attention to the urgency the board feels about getting the seat filled.

The appointment could not have been made any more quickly.

In his order naming Vaughn to fill the seat, Trumbo also recorded the letter he sent to the Board of Supervisors about his decision.

“Understanding the importance this decision to not only the Board and the residents of the Fincastle District, but to the County as a whole, I began informed talks with citizens of the District and reviewed the information provided to me so that the County could expeditiously address immediate budget concerns,” Trumbo wrote in the letter. “This process was begun once it became apparent that the Court might be requested to (make the appointment).

“My thoughts on this Court’s duties on the appointment process center on its temporary nature. I do not feel that the Court should consider only those individuals who may place themselves on the ballot to fill the vacancy by election,” Trumbo’s letter continued. “The citizens of the District should hopefully have the opportunity to consider a slate of candidates that has not been influenced by the appointment powers of the Court.”

Trumbo had a similar situation in Alleghany County and there appointed an individual who agreed not to stand for election.

“Furthermore, I feel the necessity to view the candidates for this temporary position in light of their standing in the community and the attributes they could bring to the position,” the letter says. “Involvement in the community (both in the District as well as the County), the ability to handle complex decisions and a history of personal achievement all are important in the process.

“This has been a difficult decision. Many to whom I have talked have demonstrated no interest in the position and only after several conversations did those who felt great community pride and responsibility allowed their names to be considered,” the letter continued.

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