There may be a new cast of characters in the Pike County courthouse, but at their first meeting of the new term on Monday, it only took a few minutes before the board of supervisors reverted to the argumentative style of its predecessors.
The spark for the ill feelings was almost comical. After unanimously electing Sam Hall to the relatively ceremonial post of board president for the year, Supervisor Robert Accardo proposed rotating the presidency in numerical order of each board member’s district.
For whatever reason, perhaps because being board president isn’t that big of a deal except for running the meetings, the prior rotation was not in numerical order. But Accardo’s idea drew an objection from District 1 Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky, the only member of the board returning from the prior term.
Bowsky, who never misses a chance to feel slighted, accused Accardo of favoring the new rotation so that he would be president more quickly. Hall suggested keeping Accardo’s idea for a numerical-order rotation, but to start this year with Bowsky as president. The board, however, then voted 4-1 for a rotation that would delay Accardo’s time as president by a year. But Bowsky’s turn would be last of the five.
You cannot make this stuff up. These are the men who will set tax rates, oversee rural road maintenance and make countless other important decisions — and they can’t even get out of their first meeting without squabbling over something that really is inconsequential.
It’s odd that the four new supervisors, each of whom won very contested elections, lacked the political radar to be more aware of the way Bowsky sometimes behaves at meetings. His routine is a lot like Donald Trump’s — object loudly and complain of unfair treatment.
It’s embarrassing that, in the board’s very first meeting, he was going to leave over this topic before Hall convinced him to stay.
This one was avoidable. In a perfect world, the board would have set the 1-2-3-4-5 rotation first, and then voted in Bowsky as president for 2020. He represents District 1, after all, and he is the only one of the five supervisors who is not new to the job. And apparently being board president means a lot to him.
Perhaps the board will fix this at its next meeting, even though any temptation to do that admittedly means the rest of the supervisors must give in to Bowsky’s tiresome predisposition for claiming mistreatment. But the guiding point should be that the board president’s job is not a big deal, and supervisors have plenty of bigger fish to fry.
Anybody interested in local politics knows that the supervisors are going to have differences of opinion. It’s inevitable, especially when the board has three white and two black members that reflect the 50-50 split of Pike County’s population. But these differences are not necessarily a bad thing, even when they include heated discussions — if the topic is important.
All five supervisors now have a second chance to live up to what Hall said Monday — that board members have agreed to work together for the best of Pike County. Let’s hope they are up to the challenge.