The Board of Supervisors needs to adopt a Code of Conduct as a first step to start healing the division and divisiveness so rampant in Rappahannock County. That Code needs to apply to all County officials, elected or appointed, and needs to have a mechanism that will hold public officials accountable when they breach it.
We live in a time of political acrimony and lack of civility, much of which emanates from our National Capital City 60 miles to the East. Unfortunately, too much of that acrimony and lack of civility is alive and well in Rappahannock County, and in fact just in the past couple of months we have seen considerable bad behavior and nastiness on the part of elected and appointed officials, not to mention from citizens participating in public meetings.
A Code of Conduct must require Rappahannock officials to tell the truth. It must ask that they respect opinions which may differ from theirs, to be courteous to each other, to their constituents and to the public. It must ask that they avoid personal and ad hominem attacks, and that they be on their best behavior at all times.
One of us is a Republican, one a Democrat. We disagree on many things, but one thing we see eye to eye on is the need to embrace civility in our debates and discourse. To do otherwise does a great disservice to political debate and to the entire political process. Worse, it inhibits citizens from speaking out and sharing their points of view for fear of being publicly chastised and attacked.
United Citizens of Rappahannock is a new organization dedicated to promoting civility in government and public discourse. We will do everything in our power to prevail in this cause.
Stephen Brooks and Alfred Regnery
Co-Chairmen, United Citizens of Rappahannock