Some Thoughts on the Appointment of a Temporary Brentsville District School Board Member
In politics, this happens much too often. One example includes the minority party's use of the filibuster in the Senate. The filibuster appears to only be terrible when the minority party benefits from it and efforts to get rid of it have been led by both parties at separate times, depending on which party controlled the Senate at the time. One can legitimately argue whether the minority party's use of the filibuster is good tactic or an abusive one, but it should not be viewed in a partisan lens.
What numerous Republicans and certain right-wing blogs have done has been reprehensible in the wake of Brentsville District School Board Member Gil Trenum's announcement that he will be going into active military duty. Frankly, their tactics and grandstanding have been disrespectful of their fellow Republican, Mr. Trenum.
School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers was definitively correct to seek clarification from the Attorney General's office for proper steps to take in this unique circumstance, where someone needs to be temporarily appointed as Brentsville District School Board Member. While Trenum named several individuals that he would personally have liked to take his place in his absence, that did not necessarily mean the School Board was required to choose any of these individuals.
In the meantime, right-wing blogs posted fabricated false Democratic "strategy" letters and private information of a Don Shaw, a Brentsville district resident who was interested in the temporary School Board position, but not named by Trenum. Further, numerous Republican office holders have held rallies decrying Sawyers for being partisan.
But, wait, aren't these Republicans and right wing blogs being partisan in their own efforts to attack and smear? They appear not to be interested in a quick resolution or following the proper protocols, but, instead, to make sure another Republican is installed temporarily as Brentsville District School Board member.
It is interesting to note that nothing of this nature occurred in 2013, from Democrats, when Republican Steven Keen was appointed as Woodbridge District School Board Member until a special election could be held. Democrat Denita Ramirez was elected to this seat, but resigned at the end of 2012 to accept a job in and move to Richmond. While the argument is being made that not choosing one of Trenum's hand-picked individuals to fill his seat is akin to going against the voters of the Brentsville District who elected Trenum, did not the Republican-controlled School Board, in 2013, do the same thing in 2013 by appointing a Republican to fill out a position that a Democrat had been elected to?
Personally, I have no problem with Steven Keen or any of Gil Trenum's choices as successor. What bothers me is that numerous Republicans and right-wing blogs have turned a situation that was not supposed to be partisan into a partisan situation through lies and smear campaigns. All this has done is distract from and undermine the important work of the School Board and trivialize what should be done in the wake of Trenum's deployment. I truly believe these tactics are emblematic of fear, anger, and resentment that some have about Democrats, for the first time, controlling a governing body in Prince William County.
The response received from the Attorney General's office to Sawyers' inquiry stated, "In Prince William County, the appointing authority to fill vacancies on the school board is the remaining members of the school board.” Just like in 2013, to appoint a successor for Denita Ramirez, the School Board members should vote for whom they feel will best fill out Gil Trenum's duties while he is deployed.
I should also note that I wish Trenum the best in his deployment and am grateful for his service.