Henry County Supervisor Garrett Dillard called for more transparency in the county’s job search procedures during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
His remarks come after Joyce Staples, of the Blackberry District, spoke at last month’s meeting about the lack of transparency in the process that led to the selection of Dale Wagoner as the next county administrator after the retirement of Tim Hall later this year. She spoke, too, about the lack of diversity in Henry County leadership. Wagoner will be another in a long line of white men who have held the top spot in county administration, and no people of color currently hold leadership positions within the county staff.
Dillard, of the Iriswood District, recalled that when he ran for office, “one of my platforms was to empower citizens through transparency. Working in the school system, I’ve always learned that transparency is so important so people know what’s going on. If people have questions, they get the information out front and I think it’s important that we as a county operate that way. I’m not saying that we don’t, but we’re always looking to make improvements.”
He said he would like to see “certain jobs” posted publicly. “I think that allows for transparency. That way people know what the job criteria is, when the job’s open, when the job’s going to close, and there may be folks who are outside of the county who may be interested in applying.”
He added that process would allow “us to truly select the most qualified candidate, and I think that’s always the goal. To get the most qualified candidate, especially in jobs of this nature because so many peoples’ wellbeing, finances, lifestyles depend on that.
“I’m rooting for Dale,” Dillard said of Dale Wagoner, who will become the next county administrator on July 1.
“We should all be rooting for Dale, because the more successful he is, the more successful Henry County is,” Dillard said, adding Wagoner “has some big things out in front of him,” with reversion, the new jail, budget challenges, the drug and crime rates, and the ever-looming threat of COVID-19.
“I think it’s vital that he has the best team possible to support him because we all know that, when you’re in a role like that, the team is going to determine your success as much as you are, and I think posting jobs publicly allows him to get that best team possible. I just want to go on record stating that I think any high-level jobs in Henry County are posted openly. Not just internally, but also externally.”
Other supervisors did not respond.
In other matters, the board:
*Approved a motion to send a letter to SOVAH Health expressing concern over the health system’s “temporary pause providing delivery services at the SOVAH-Martinsville facility.” The letter stated that “hospitals and the services they provide are part of the essential fabric of communities. More is at play than a business decision—how does each decision impact the citizens of the locality? How does the client in need of medical help get what he or she needs in a timely manner? … A vibrant community is no longer as vibrant if its hospital reduces its services for an extended period, or ultimately terminates those services.”
The letter was addressed to Alan Larson, market president for SOVAH Health-Danville and Spencer Thomas, CEO of SOVAH Health- Martinsville.
*Unanimously approved a motion declaring the month of May POW (Prisoners of War) Remembrance Month and to fly the POW flag alongside the American flag at county sites.
*Awarded a $750,000 contract to C.W Cauley & Sons, Inc. for site work on Lot #5 of the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC).
*Awarded an $800,000 contract for engineering services for site work on Lot #2 of the CCBC, which coincides with a grant received from the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program to conduct the site work.
*Appropriated $1.38 million in grant and reserve funds to begin construction of section 6A of the Dick & Willie Passage Trail. The total amount includes $257,251 in reserve funds for the county’s match to the grant.
*Awarded a $1,902,470 contract to Inland Construction, Inc. for construction of a section of trail, and a $265,000 contract to Hurt & Proffitt, Inc. for construction administration and testing services related to the project.
*Held a public hearing and adopted an ordinance establishing a tourism zone in Henry County, mirroring the areas in the county zoned as Commercial B-1 and offering incentives similar to enterprise zone incentives for tourism-related businesses that make new capital investments in the county of at least $500,000 and create at least five new full-time jobs.
*Held a public hearing and approved an appropriation to replace $2.6 million in the budget previously appropriated for school debt from the reserve funds.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $355,424 for the Henry County School Board. The funds, received from grants, will be used in part for a tutoring program, an after-school program, and the recruitment and retention of mental health workers.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $26,957 to the Sheriff’s Office from State Asset Forfeiture funds, which will be used to cover costs associated with moving inmates from the old jail to the new facility and other overtime expenses associated with changes in the court mandated by the Circuit Court Judge.
*Heard a report on delinquent tax collection efforts from Treasurer Scott Grindstaff who said that, as of March 31, approximately 88.34 percent of 2021 personal property taxes have been collected, with $329,984.50 received in March. As of that same date, 92.06 percent of 2021 real estate taxes have been collected with $269,045.88 received.
*Heard an update from Sarah Hodges, director of Tourism and Talent Development, on the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation.
*Held a public hearing and approved the updated Solid Waste Management Plan.
*Reappointed Joshua Tucker to the Henry-Martinsville Social Services Board for a four-year term ending May 31,2026.
*Approved a proclamation declaring May 11-17 as National Peace Officers Memorial Week.
*Approved a resolution in support of the Nelson Motorsports Race Team for winning the 2021 CARS Tour season championship and Virginia Triple Crown.
*Approved a resolution honoring World War II veteran Jim Weinerth on his 100th birthday.
*Approved a resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of Piedmont Community Services.
*Approved a resolution recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Martinsville & Henry County Crime Stoppers program.
*Approved a resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Oak Level Ruritan Club.
*Heard from Sandra Haley, who asked the board to consider supplementing the state salaries of employees at the Public Defender’s Office with local funds.
*Heard an update from Kathy Deacon, executive director of Uptown Partnership, about the organization’s revitalization efforts.
*Heard from Roger Saunders about the lack of a local Comcast office.