Former Councilmember Kathy Jo Shea, of Foxcroft Road, appeared before Council “in response to an article in the Middleburg Eccentric, which mentioned volunteers for Town committees.”
Shea expressed “disappointment” that, according to the story, “a staff member” appeared to question a Council decision, namely whether or not new requirements for background information on volunteers for Council committees, boards, and commission had an adverse effect on the number of people willing to apply
Shea noted that “as a former councilmember, she pushed to have applicants submit a bio with their letter of intent to serve.” During her eight years on Town Council, she said, she saw lots of variety in the letters of intent. Having more information on an applicant, she believed, was important.
Noting the anticipated growth and coming changes in demographics of Middleburg, Shea noted that Council would, inevitably appoint individuals “they only knew slightly or not at all.”
Shea also reminded Council that committee members, as well as Council members, were legally bound by the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and “suggested they should be willing to cooperate as Town representatives.”
Shea further observed that while Council regularly expressed its appreciation for the work of volunteers in Council Chambers for volunteers, in her view they did not do, often enough, so “in a way that was meaningful.” In Shea’s opinion, Council needed to regularly and systematically acknowledge the volunteers for their expertise and contributions, recognize their roles as prominent and competent members of the Middleburg team.
Active recruitment of new volunteers, she said, is vital. In her eight years on Council, Shea “observed that some Council members were particularly good at convincing citizens to join and be a part of committees. She encouraged the new members of Council to take recruitment on as a significant and serious commitment.
In conclusion, Shea noted that while “Council had someone who worked with and supported the staff; there was no one on the Council to give support to the volunteers.