Staunton fails to have quorum, special meeting canceled despite crowd

A special-called meeting did not happen Tuesday night in Staunton because City Council failed to have a quorum.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 9:24 AM 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 the city.

But, the specially called meeting did not happen.

Just four of the seven members of Staunton City Council showed up, and one was virtual. As a result, City 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 p.m. came and went.

While staff packed up, Councilor 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 said.

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 councilors 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 said.

“People came, and I’m sure there were more people on Zoom, but they didn’t want to come out. I mean Zoom’s a great thing, but we can’t even use it if we don’t have a quorum,” Councilor 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 always weigh in during a public hearing Thursday, January 13, 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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