PAC backs candidates for Shenandoah supervisor races

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — A new political action committee is raising money to support challenger candidates in Shenandoah County’s Board of Supervisors elections in November.

Responsible Leadership for Shenandoah County, which was founded on Feb. 22, has raised $1,300 for candidates running against Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz, according to a statement released by Executive Director Craig Orndorff on Monday.

Bailey represents the county’s 4th District, which includes Woodstock. Shruntz is the District 5 supervisor and represents the Toms Brook and Lebanon Church areas. Both were elected in 2013 as independents.

The committee’s goal, Orndorff said, is to “restore sanity” to the board and reduce gridlock, particularly over financial decisions.

“We want a community investment-oriented board,” he said.

Orndorff launched RLSC five days after a Feb. 16 joint work session between the Board of Supervisors and the county School Board to discuss the fiscal 2018 budget.

Bailey called a surprise vote at the end of the session to name District 3 Supervisor Richard Walker as the board’s chairman and Conrad Helsley as vice chairman for 2017.

County Attorney Jason Ham declared the vote illegal because it occurred during a work session and not a regular meeting. Helsley is the current board chairman.

Board members had been gridlocked since January over whether to name Walker as the new chairman or let Helsley continue in the position. Walker, Bailey and Shruntz supported Walker in the top post, while Helsley, Dick Neese and Steve Baker favored keeping Helsley in the position.

“That [vote] was a big impetus,” Orndorff said. “There had been plans for a committee already, but when that happened, a lot of people were outraged.”

Orndorff is a former chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee. RLSC claims 603 followers on Facebook and 26 donors, he said, adding that an advisory board and endorsements for two candidates will be announced soon.

The candidates are Karl Roulston, senior systems engineer with the Regulus Group in Woodstock and co-owner of the Woodstock Brew House, and Dennis Morris, who was the District 5 supervisor for 32 years until Shruntz ousted him in 2013.

Roulston is running as an independent for Bailey’s seat, while Morris will run as a Republican to reclaim his former seat from Shruntz.

Neither candidate has submitted the required paperwork and 125 signatures to run for office on Nov. 7, according to the count’s voter registration office. The deadline to file is Virginia’s Primary Day on June 13.

District 1 Supervisor Dick Neese is also running for re-election this year. RLSC plans to support him, Orndorff said.

On April 1, the committee announced a petition for signatures from 10 percent of the county’s voters to ask for a referendum on adding either a seventh supervisor or a designated tiebreaker to the board to end the kind of gridlock that held up the chairman decision.

With about 26,740 registered voters in the county, the petition would require 2,674 signatures to go forward.

But, Orndorff said Tuesday, the committee will wait until after the election to advance the petition and instead focus on supporting Roulston and Morris’s campaigns.

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