The Stafford County Board of Supervisors voted Oct. 2 to abolish the position of tie-breaker on the board and replace it with a seventh supervisor to be elected at large. If approved by the U.S. Justice Department, the change would take place with the November 1985 general election.
Stafford currently has six supervisor districts in which voters elect one representative. A tie-breaker is elected at large and that position was last up for election in 1983.
For now, the board will remain the same with tie-breaker Farris Belman participating only when the six regular supervisors tie 3-3. For Belman, the current system has its frustrations. "It's hard, coming in and just sitting here. Not being in the discussion and voting only when there's a tie," he said.
A prior board of supervisors created controversy when it consistently tied and left nearly every major decision up to Belman's predecessor, John Nere. Nere was among the first officials to call for abolishment of the tie-breaker spot and creation of a seventh supervisor.
The new position is likely to be the first of several changes in election procedures for the county. With the redistricting, expected near 1990, the new at-large seventh district would be made to represent a distinct and separate portion of the county.
A public hearing prior to the board's adoption of the amendment to the election ordinances brought out about 12 persons, with little debate offered by them or the supervisors on the subject. Lindbergh Fritter was the only supervisor voting against the move, saying, "It would be like changing the president in the middle of his term."