BOS chair Welch won’t run for re-elec­tion

‘We used to solve prob­lems, now we cre­ate them’

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By Patty Hardee Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

Roger Welch has de­cided not to run for re-elec­tion for Wake­field dis­trict su­per­vi­sor in Novem­ber’s elec­tion.

Welch has sat on the board for 20 years and has been its chair for the last ten. In a phone call to the Rap­pa­han­nock News, Welch called it “a tough decision” not to seek an­other term on the county’s Board of Su­per­vi­sors, but that he needed to step down due to ill­ness.

“I don’t want any­one to mis­un­der­stand [my mo­ti­va­tion for the decision],” he said, re­fer­ring to the con­tentious na­ture of BOS meet­ings in re­cent years. “My leav­ing has more to do with my Parkin­son’s.” He said he also wanted to spend more time with his three grand­chil­dren.

He did acknowledg­e, how­ever, that be­ing a su­per­vi­sor had be­come more dif­fi­cult.

“For the first 16 to 18 years on the Board of Su­per­vi­sors, I en­joyed go­ing to meet­ings,” Welch said. “We used to solve prob­lems, now we cre­ate them.”

He de­clined to elab­o­rate on the prob­lems be­ing cre­ated, but the BOS or in­di­vid­ual su­per­vi­sors have been par­ties to four law­suits since 2016. Two suits brought by Gid Brown Hol­low llama farmer Mar­ian Bragg al­lege that the BOS vi­o­lated the state’s Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act (FOIA) on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

An­other suit, brought by Amissville res­i­dent Tom Wool­man, al­leges that Hamp­ton Su­per­vi­sor John Lesin­ski, who has also de­cided not to seek re­elec­tion, vi­o­lated Vir­ginia’s Con­flict of In­ter­est Act (COIA) in not dis­clos­ing pos­si­ble per­sonal in­ter­ests in trans­ac­tions while he was on the BOS and serv­ing as School Board chair.

In yet a fourth law­suit, Har­ris Hol­low res­i­dent Ge­orge Son­nett charges three mem­bers of the board with vi­o­la­tions of COIA. Rock Mills lawyer David Kon­ick rep­re­sents all three plain­tiffs.

Welch claimed that an­other lo­cal out­let mis­rep­re­sented his reason for choos­ing not to run again by at­tribut­ing the decision to be­ing tired of ver­bal at­tacks by Jack­son Su­per­vi­sor Ron Fra­zier in BOS meet­ings.

“I get along with Ron pretty good,” Welch said. “We just don’t agree on some things. He’s been rough on me, but I just ignore him and turn the other cheek.”

The 72-year-old Welch was brought up in Flint Hill. He served in the U.S. Navy for six years be­fore spend­ing 36 years at Gen­eral Elec­tric as a hard­ware en­gi­neer. He earned an as­so­ciate’s de­gree at a com­mu­nity col­lege and at­tended Vir­ginia Tech for two years. His daugh­ter lives in Charleston, S.C., and his son in Culpeper.

BY LUKE CHRISTO­PHER

“For the first 16 to 18 years on the Board of Su­per­vi­sors, I en­joyed go­ing to meet­ings,” said Roger Welch, seated at the far right end of the ta­ble at Mon­day’s BOS meet­ing.

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