I am writing as a Clifton Forge citizen and member of the Alleghany Board of Supervisors to express appreciation for our health professionals, public works crews, store workers and governmental employees. Their necessary work goes on in a time of risk and uncertainty, and I am grateful to them.
This is a hard time for us all, and uncertainties loom large as the novel Coronavirus pandemic continues. With nearly all decision-making happening electronically during the necessary shutdown, I am glad for electronic access.
The Tuesday, April 14, Clifton Forge Town Council meeting was notable for the number of submitted public comments requesting that council retain
Town Manager Darlene Burcham for another year. The requests were made respectfully and convincingly, citing the crucial need for Ms. Burcham’s proven expertise, professional connections and governmental skill as the town faces post-pandemic reconstruction of its businesses and organizations.
It appears that these requests fell on deaf ears, as that night council went into closed session and, several days later, announced special called meetings in closed session to interview town manager candidates (April 21-24).
(One hopes these interviews are being done electronically.)
Those of us who choose to run for public office have one overarching responsibility: to work for the greater good for the greatest number. It’s hard to imagine that bringing in a new town manager to an unfamiliar town in the midst or the wake of a public disaster will produce anything close to the greater good.
It’s deeply unfortunate that Clifton Forge Town Council has not conveyed adequately why or how they determined the need for a new town manager; that they are offering candidates a salary not much less than that currently paid to Ms. Burcham; and that they they are proceeding to bring a new town manager into the midst of serious economic turmoil and an uncertain future.
It’s not too late for council to take the opportunity suggested to them — to extend our skilled town manager’s contract for another year — and give us the chance to rebuild with her proven ability.
I hope that all citizens of Clifton Forge will continue to ask council members to justify their pressing forward to hire a new town manager in a time when the greatest good for the greatest number is most at risk.
Palace Blvd., Clifton Forge
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.