Retired IBM executive Cynthia Neff announced Tuesday that she would seek the Democratic nomination for the Rivanna seat on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
“I’ve decided to run for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors against Ken Boyd , because someone needs to stand up for the residents of the Rivanna District and Albemarle County,” Neff said.
“What’s been going on recently at the Board of Supervisors is appalling, even embarrassing,” Neff said. “Deciding to vote against the rules in place [for meetings] to decide on important community issues at 11:30 at night, then changing the county’s transportation strategy in the dead of night, is not OK.”
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Scottsville Supervisor Lindsay G. Dorrier, Jr. asked the board to reconsider the bypass and four Albemarle Supervisors, including Boyd, voted to direct its representatives on the Metropolitan Planning Organization to remove language blocking the state from allocating money for its construction. The topic was not on the meeting agenda for public comment and the board had to suspend its rules of order to enact the change.
Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd , a Republican, is seeking re-election to a third term on the board. He was unavailable Tuesday to comment on Neff’s announcement.
Neff, 59, who ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009 against Republican Rob Bell, made her announcement on the steps of the County Office Building while flanked by about 20 city and county residents.
Neff moved to Albemarle County in 2006 after retiring from IBM. She currently serves as board president for the AIDS/HIV Service Group and is on the board of directors for Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population . In 2008 , the county contributed $25,000 to ASAP’s study of the city and county’s optimal population size.
“What I hope to find with ASAP, is to take all the research we’ve done, all the studies that have been done, all of the impact, work with the comprehensive plan, understand what it looks as it’s built out,” said Neff. “Is this working? Do we have the accompanying infrastructure? What is the impact on our natural resources?”
Neff outlined her other priorities, which included education and strong city, county and university relations.
“The [priority] that comes to the top of my mind is, first and foremost, is always education,” Neff said. “If we don’t have a maniacal focus on our community to make sure that our kids get a quality education that builds the future, we will never be successful.”
Neff said that she was wary of approving development that would bring low-paying jobs, where workers would be unable to live in the county.
“When I think of the economic development plan, I think of the recent MicroAire move here, I look at NGIC, I look at…the [University of] Virginia Research Park,” Neff said. “Those are the kind of jobs that we need, jobs that add value to the community.”
Neff also emphasized government transparency as a priority. She said it has been difficult to learn about Albemarle’s comprehensive plan and development plans.
“I also learned that sometimes the process wasn’t quite as transparent as it should be and that financial pressures made for strange bedfellows between the county and developers,” Neff said.
On the water supply plan, Neff said she supports the current plan to build a new earthen dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir.
“I support the water supply plan [and I am willing to] learn a bit more, but I have seen nothing in the water supply plan … to say, ‘I don’t support that,’” Neff said.
Democrats will nominate their candidate in a caucus on Aug. 15. Currently, both Neff and Boyd are uncontested for their party’s nomination. Ann H. Mallek, the Democratic incumbent from White Hall, is currently running uncontested. In Scottsville, Democrat Christopher J. Dumler and Republican Jim Norwood are running to replace the retiring Lindsay G. Dorrier Jr. The general election is Nov. 8.
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