For the first time in the history of Albemarle County, five of the six supervisors are women.
The board held its first meeting of 2020 on Wednesday with Democrats Donna Price and Bea LaPisto Kirtley, who represent the Scottsville Magisterial District and Rivanna District, respectively, and were elected in November.
This isn’t the first time that the board has been majority women. In 2014, the board was made up of four women and two men.
The board also unanimously approved Ned Gallaway as board chairman for the second year in a row and Price, the first openly transgender board member, as vice chairwoman.
Gallaway said he hopes he can apply what he learned in 2019 to his second term as chair.
“I have certainly enjoyed being chair last year and I look forward to continuing this year,” he said.
Price said she is proud to bring her years of public service experience to ensure equitable policy outcomes for all county residents.
“I am deeply honored by your trust and confidence,” she said.
The Board of Supervisors will also continue to hold its regular meetings on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.
After a lengthy discussion about potentially holding their regular meetings on the first and second Wednesdays, the board ultimately unanimously approved keeping meeting dates the same.
In 2018, the board first discussed changing the meeting dates and approved it for a six month trial period last January, which was then extended until December.
Supervisors Liz Palmer, Ann H. Mallek and LaPisto Kirtley supported changing the meetings back to the first and second weeks.
“Iit was always very important for me to have the first and the second, because then I could devote myself the second half of the month to the business very clearly, and it allowed me to do this,” Palmer said of her house call veterinary practice that she operated when she was first elected. “I do think when we talk about salary when we talk about schedule, we talk about those kinds of things, we really have to think about the next group of people who are going to run for office.”
Supervisors Diantha McKeel, Price and Gallaway supported keeping the meetings on the first and third weeks.
“I really think for the organization and the efficiency and the ability for staff to have time and produce a better product for us, I think the first and the third works the best,” McKeel said.
Board Clerk Claudette Borgersen said the clerk’s office prefers the first and second week schedules.
“With the current schedule, we’re in a constant state of meeting preparation,” she said.
County Attorney Greg Kampter said the county’s legal services coordinator, who reviews meeting executive summaries, only has two days to work on other items when the board meets the first and third weeks of the month, while she has five days when the meetings are the first and second weeks.
“My perspective is a little bit different,” he said. “When we were in the first and second board meeting schedule, I often went half a month without working on anything else but executive summaries and board meeting prep and board meeting time… The first and third meetings has allowed that to moderate so that I can, throughout the month, be working on other things.”
McKeel said she wanted to have a more in-depth discussion about workflow and efficiencies in the clerk’s office in the future.
“During the budget cycle, I am going to come back at some point to ask that this board really take a look at our operations just as we would look at other departments’ operations,” she said.