Staunton City Council fails to have quorum, special meeting canceled despite crowd

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:07 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Tuesday night was supposed to be a chance for the people of Staunton to learn all about what’s going on with the Augusta County Courts and what it could mean if they move out of downtown Staunton.

But, the specially called meeting did not happen.

Just four of Staunton City Council’s seven members showed up for the meeting, and one was virtual, so Council did not have a quorum and the meeting was canceled.

“Under the circumstances no official meeting of City Council may be conducted and members of city staff will now depart council chambers,” City Manager Steve Rosenberg said after 7:00 p.m. came and went.

While staff packed up, council member Brenda Mead addressed a crowd of more than two dozen people.

“Carolyn Dull, Terry Holmes, and I called this meeting so that we could provide responses to the questions, the many questions this community has had about the courthouse,” Mead said.

Craig Sheaves spoke out from the crowd calling out Mayor Andrea Oakes, who wasn’t at the meeting. “We can’t even come together and have a[n] open discussion, because our head of elected office has no respect for the people or that chair she sits in,” Sheaves stated.

John Kolp had hoped to learn more at the meeting. “I understand that there’s some kind of arrangement that if the city supports the county and the state legislature that the county will give the city all the buildings, but that’s all I know,” Kolp said.

He’s annoyed and thinks council members boycotted the meeting because they don’t want to be open about what’s happening. “We’re all left with these questions unanswered and I think it’s irresponsible and, you know, I think it’s a failure of these elected officials,” Kolp said.

Vice Mayor Mark Robertson didn’t call for the meeting, but he did attend. “I thought it was important to show up. I thought it was important to listen to what the people had to, you know, had to say. I thought it was important that you know we as their representatives could listen,” Robertson stated.

“People came. And I’m sure there were more people on Zoom, but they didn’t wanna come out. I mean Zoom’s a great thing but we can’t even use it if we don’t have a quorum,” Councilmember Holmes said. “And I mean I just think it’s, you know, all of us’s [sic] responsibility to be here.”

There won’t be a presentation or an opportunity for discussion with the public, but people can still weigh in Thursday night during a public hearing at Staunton City Hall.

Editor’s note: There is not a public hearing on the Augusta County Courts planned for Thursday, January 13, but the public can speak during the Matters from the Public portion of the meeting.

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