No regrets

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By Tom Wilmoth

No regrets.
    That’s the response Chuck Neudorfer had a week after resigning his seat as chairman of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors last week.
    Neudorfer, who represented District 2, did say he was sorry that he wasn’t able to fulfill his term for his constituents.
    But he’s not sorry to be away from what he says is an increasing problem with the way the board is handling its business.
    “I have no interest in changing my position,” he said of the statements he made when he walked out of last Tuesday’s meeting.  Those  included  stating   the   board   had  stopped debating issues, choosing rather to have its business worked out prior to the meeting. He said the changes that occurred at the first of the year have rendered his service ineffective.
    Last week’s sudden resignation was in response to the board rejecting his nomination of Bill Piatt for the open District 2 planning commission seat. But his frustration had been building for months.
    It happened with the way the board handled the issue of former Administrator Kathleen Guzi’s resignation and it happened when a meeting on the zoning ordinance was canceled without him knowing anything about it.
    Piatt’s failed nomination was the last straw.
    Neudorfer said Piatt was interested in serving on the planning commission. Finding capable and enthusiastic applicants isn’t always easy, he said.
    Neudorfer said he expected some discussion about the nomination, but not it being summarily dismissed without discussion.
    First elected to the board in November 2004, Neudorfer said discussions on issues regularly occurred, with each member having an opportunity to state their position. “Since the beginning of the year, it is more likely that supervisors come to the board with their mind made up and a vote is taken with no discussion,” he said. “What’s behind that, I don’t really know.”
    He said open discussion since January had been limited and votes became “predictable.”
    Neudorfer said he reached the conclusion that “I really wasn’t going to have any affect or impact and it became a waste of my time to be present.”
    As he looks back on his service, Neudorfer pointed to the remodeling of Jefferson High School as a positive accomplishment, along with water and sewer construction in the Moneta area. All in all, he said the normal business of the county pointed in a “very positive direction.”
    Working on the budget, particularly dealing with the school funding, was among the most strenuous of issues, he said. He said that issue is compounded in difficulty because the school board is often getting its final state funding numbers at the end of the budget process.
     “That means on occasion, more often that it should, the information that comes to the board is subject to change. That makes it awkward for the board to deal with,” Neudorfer said.
    He does believe the school budget needs to be looked at for a possible increase to teacher salaries, but only if those increases would coincide with increases to all county staff.
    Neudorfer had never run for public office, prior to being elected to the board of supervisors and he counted it as a privilege to be able to serve county residents.
    “I have tried very hard to be logical to study things before voting, to be interested in knowing the details,” he said. “I was given an opportunity to understand the county a whole lot better than I would have understood it as a citizen down here at the Lake.”
    He commended the county staff for their work. “I think it’s an outstanding staff,” he said.
    So what’s next?
    Neudorfer said his immediate plans included dealing with a truckload of mulch that is waiting out on his side yard. He also plans to continue taking mission trips with his church team that goes into areas that have suffered damage and helps residents in those areas begin to rebuild their lives.
    “I’ll probably do that as my main away-from-home activity,” Neudorfer said.