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By Matthew Saari

Washington County’s supervisors are at odds over who should be in charge of the county’s $120 million budget.

Last week Easton supervisor Dan Shaw was re-elected to the position of county budget officer, despite receiving only seven votes from his fellow supervisors compared to nine for his challenger, Hebron supervisor Brian Campbell.

Hebron supervisor Brian Campbell

“That was quite a fiasco,” said Shaw, who noted the whole process was reminiscent of when he beat out Campbell two years ago. “That division or disagreement has been going on since then.”

Shaw’s reelection was made possible because the Board of Supervisors utilizes a weighted vote system wherein the towns with the higher populations are given more weight and thus more power. For example, the Town of Hampton carries a weight of 69 compared with 760 for the Town of Kingsbury.

The seven votes cast in Shaw’s favor won him the budget officer seat by a 2,368-1,844 margin.

“When he presents things, it’s black and white…nothing real fancy,” said Whitehall supervisor John Rozell, who voted for Shaw.

This will be Shaw’s second term as budget officer. He was initially elected to the position in 2018 when he beat out Campbell, who had served in the post for eight years.

“We were pretty happy with the way Brian did things,” said Granville town supervisor Matt Hicks, who voted for Campbell, who previously had held the position.

Said Hampton supervisor Dave O’Brien, who voted for Campbell:

“I have only one statement: the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors is to make sure we have the right people in the right jobs to serve the needs of the 65,000 residents of Washington County.”

Granville supervisor Matt Hicks

The controversy is rooted in how Shaw allegedly mismanaged the 2020 budget process, which required more than $1 million in adjustments, put forward by Hicks and Campbell.

The amendments include $127,166 for personnel adjustments; $3,000 stipend for real property director Laura Chadwick; $100,000 for public works equipment and $1.1 million for county roads and bridges.

Hicks noted that under Shaw’s budget, the county’s highway budget included only enough funding for paving 7.5 miles of roadway, compared with the 20 miles which made it in the amended, approved budget.

“We were going to pave a lot less roads…that’s not really acceptable,” Hicks said.

“That’s not a good place to be,” agreed Campbell.

Shaw countered that this is nothing but rumor.

“They started a rumor that I cut paving,” he said, noting that the budget was amended to change the paving schedule from resurfacing roads to “full depth reclamation,” essentially tearing and grinding up the roadway and replacing it with brand new asphalt, and no new miles of road were added.

“That’s very expensive to do that,” Shaw added.

 

This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

 

This is only a preview of the story published in the Granville Sentinel. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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