Bath Supervisors Remove Hall As Chairman
Warm Springs, Va – The Bath Board of Supervisors has removed supervisor Stuart Hall as Board Chairman. At a special called meeting on Tuesday, the board met to reconsider the leadership roles of the board, in response to an incident that occurred at the September meeting.
At the September meeting, Hall called for the resignation of county administrator Bonnie Johnson. He accused Johnson of verbal abuse and intimidation of courthouse employees and insubordinate verbal abuse towards citizens and another board member. At that September meeting, after a short heated exchange with Hall, supervisor Carol Hardbarger walked out.
On Tuesday evening, Hall said he meant every word he said at the September meeting and that every word was the truth. He said he had no recourse but to bring the issues out. Hall said the other board members don’t think county employees are important enough to look into these matters.
During public comment, three people spoke supporting Hall saying he had the right to speak during the September meeting and not be interrupted. Another speaker said Hall should be supported even is he’s not always right and added that Hardbarger should not have walked out of that meeting.
On Tuesday evening, Supervisor Jon Trees said the accusations and slanderous remarks Hall made opened the county up to lawsuits. Trees said he lost respect for Hall, not because of what he attempted to do, but how he did it. He added that the board chairman and the county administrator must work closely together and now it will be hard for them to do that.
Supervisor Carol Hardbarger said Hall should not have raised his voice and should have kept employee issues private. She said she agreed with some of the things he said at the September meeting, but added that every person is entitled to be treated with the same level of respect.
Hardbarger said she’s had more calls about this than any other issue since she’s been on the board, including calls from other districts. She said she walked out of the September meeting to make a statement that she won’t tolerate being treated that way. Supervisor Percy Nowlin said the board has taken abuse from the audience before, but no one should take abuse from a board member.
Supervisor Richard Byrd said the board had discussed issues that Hall raised for three or four months in closed meetings. He said the other four board members felt the accusations were unfounded. Byrd said he disagrees with Hall and that Hall’s actions were inappropriate and unacceptable. Byrd said he’s not willing to have the county pay for a lawsuit and that the board must move on.
On Tuesday evening, Hall was removed as Chairman of the Board and Byrd was then appointed as Chairman. Supervisor Carol Hardbarger was appointed as vice chairman. Hall voted in support of both of actions, making the vote unanimous.