Chesterfield residents concerned big changes to local government being made too quickly

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — People are raising concern over how Chesterfield County government is being run. They say big changes are being made too quickly.

Chesterfield is one of three counties in the state that use a charter to govern. Two weeks ago, supervisors were considering a change in that charter that would have given the new administrator the power to create or abolish departments.

Hoping to pass changes by the end of December, the proposal is raising concerns among residents.

17d28d1b9fe14c728f773515231e1c53Sheila Bynum-Coleman was one of the residents who believed the change would give the administrator too much power.

“This is truly a power grab,” Bynum-Coleman said. “I’m also concerned about how the process is taking place. It’s not really involving the constituents, the citizens of the county.”

“This is truly a power grab.” — Chesterfield County resident Sheila Bynum-Coleman

Ron Hayes says he is concerned about the new administrator having too much power and also feels the process has been rushed.

9ead43262e5d42e7827605460e5d64a7“The Charter has not been changed since 1988 and this announcement of wanting to change it has really been short-lived,” Hayes said. “Much more advantageous that we had a period of months working on potential charter changes.”

Chesterfield County Administrator Joseph Casey says since the last meeting they’ve changed the proposal, giving the board of supervisors the ultimate say in creating and abolishing departments.

He added that the new wording will still allow the administrator to make changes on the board’s behalf without having to wait for a board meeting.

4cb16661d8d845fb8cd35b8646ea3794“From the citizen comments and feedbacks we’ve gotten, we’ve revised what was initially proposed,” Casey said.

As far as a December deadline for changing the charter…

“We can live with that for another year and if need be, we can assemble citizen committees and groups,” Casey said.

There will be a community meeting to discuss the charter at the tech center on Hull Street this Thursday at 7 p.m. The county is encouraging people to attend.

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