Averting a contentious battle on his last day after 28 years on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, Alvin Y. Bandy (R-George Washington) reached a compromise during a closed door meeting with fellow supervisors concerning the last-minute appointments he tried to make.
The supervisors agreed to make Lee Simmons, the current chairman of the county Planning Commission and Bandy's choice for another four-year term, a board appointee and allow Peter J. Fields, Bandy's successor, to nominate an additional representative. Under the agreement, the Planning Commission would grow from seven to eight members.
Bandy also withdrew two other political appointments during yesterday's afternoon session. "I will leave the appointments to Mr. Fields," Bandy said, simply.
Bandy had come under a firestorm of criticism in recent days after his attempt to appoint members to the Planning Commission, Transportation Safety Board and Parks and Recreation Commission before he leaves office Dec. 31.
Fields, who defeated Bandy in the Nov. 2 election, and several county officials held a news conference Friday to denounce Bandy's actions and urge supervisors to defer the appointments until Fields takes office. If the appointments had gone through, they would have lasted for the length of Fields's term, meaning Fields might never have had a say in whom he works with.
"I'm very relieved to have my own appointments," Fields said. "I think the voters deserve that, and I commend all the members of the board."
Although several supervisors commented that Bandy had the right to make the appointments, few appeared ready to support him if it came to a vote.
"A number of appointments have been made in December by outgoing supervisors," said Chairman Kenneth T. Mitchell (R-Aquia), who said he looked up the timing of appointments over the last 10 years. "But two wrongs don't make a right. Today, we took the first step to discontinuing the practice."
Despite the conciliatory move, Bandy did not escape criticism on his final day as several members of the public reproached him for attempting the appointments. Lou Silver, speaking for the Stafford County Citizen's Alliance, went so far as to ask Bandy for a formal apology for his actions at a previous board meeting.
Silver referred to the Nov. 4 meeting, two days after the election, where Bandy told Supervisor Robert C. Gibbons (R-Rock Hill) to "shut up" and then turned to Silver and told her to shut up.
Bandy gave her an apology of sorts.
"I don't apologize for what I said," Bandy said. "But I did overreact, and I apologize for being hot-headed."
Yesterday's meeting also was the last for Supervisor Lindbergh A. Fritter (R-Griffis-Widewater), who served 24 years on the board. His colleagues heaped praise on him as well.
"I'd like to say goodbye to Lindy Fritter," Supervisor David R. Beiler (I-Falmouth) said. "He's the most honorable man I've ever met, and I will miss him very dearly."
Bandy's last meeting also was laced with praise. Supervisors, county administrators and others lauded Bandy for his considerable service and thanked him for his numerous contributions to the county. Among other things, Bandy was complimented for his efforts to improve the county's roads, water system and other infrastructure.
Even Beiler, who has sparred with Bandy continuosly since joining the board two years ago, expressed his appreciation for what Bandy has done for Stafford County.
"Alvin Bandy is a living legend in Stafford County and deservedly so," Beiler said. "I'd like to thank him for his hard work."