Buchanan mayor comments on last Town Council meeting
All organizations change and evolve over time. Positions and operations are updated as needed to meet current objectives and to continue to improve. The goal for Buchanan is to be well staffed, with the right people, in the right positions, in order to continue the recent progress of the town.
Much of that progress has been, in part, due to the hard work and encouragement of Harry Gleason. So, the citizens of Buchanan are understandably upset that his position was eliminated. This action seemed to come out of nowhere, with no plan moving forward, and right before a holiday season full of town events that Harry would normally coordinate.
The only real communication that the town’s people have received is a statement released by council that I did not, and cannot, support – a statement that was released, against legal advice and, as with other decisions made, without unanimous support.
I am actually encouraged by what I saw at the Buchanan Town Council meeting on Monday, November 13. To witness so many people come together with such a shared passion and support for a beloved individual, who bled for this town for so many years, was an amazing thing. Town leadership needed to accept the consequences of the actions taken and listen to what the people had to say. We owed it to the people of the town to listen to them.
When a few seconds of applause followed each speaker, I certainly could have reminded everyone of the rules, but I made the conscious decision to let it be. The meeting was by no means out of control, and any attempt to stifle the show of support for fellow citizen’s words would have just fostered more anger and resentment toward council.
I am saddened by every aspect of the way this organizational change has been carried out. But, I am also hoping that the passion I witnessed on Monday can be harnessed to help this town move forward in a more positive direction, with a clear plan, and much better communication. Currently, there is work being done to create a position that will best take care of the operational needs of Buchanan. Once it is finalized, I’m sure all applicants or interested parties will be considered.
To address a more specific concern raised by a business owner at the meeting – only the citizens of Buchanan are able to communicate by vote once a year, but their voices need to be heard and taken into consideration year-round. And, although non-resident business owners are not able to communicate by vote for town offices in the general elections, their voices matter as well and, in my opinion, can carry the same weight when it comes to issues that affect their businesses.
Town leadership needs to keep in mind that we work for the people of Buchanan; the citizens, the business owners, even the visitors. Each group has the ability to give valuable insight into the issues and services that pertain to them. Section 15.2-1416, Part D, of the Code of Virginia states that “The governing body shall provide members of the general public with the opportunity for public comment during a regular meeting…”
The general public is allowed to speak, and should be heard. It is then up to council and town leadership to decide the best course based on their own knowledge, research, vision, and influence from the public comments.
Tristan Harris, Mayor
Town of Buchanan
Boothe thanks citizens for re-election
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Botetourt County for their support over the last 15 months and for re-electing me on November 7. Your confidence in my ability is truly humbling and greatly appreciated.
My office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays. We are always ready and willing to assist in any way available to us. We have several options to assist with real estate tax payments for those that do not have a mortgage escrow on their property.
I am looking forward to working with, and for, all of Botetourt’s citizens over the next four years.
Donna C Boothe
Treasurer, Botetourt County