manassas journal messenger 02/07/00


Supervisors move toward compromise on human rights appointee





Prince William

There soon could be an end to the county’s debacle in appointing a representative

to the Human Rights Commission.

In a move to possibly smooth ruffled feathers, Prince William Board

of County Supervisors Chairman Sean Connaughton announced Tuesday his intent

to appoint Woodbridge resident Chester Banks to the county Jail Board.

Banks was originally Connaughton’s choice to replace long-time Human

Rights Commission member Curtis Porter, whose term had expired at the end

of December.

Connaughton’s announcement was made soon after Supervisor Hilda Barg,

D-Woodbridge, announced her intent to reappoint Porter to the Human Rights


Should the board give its approval on the appointments at an upcoming

meeting, the end result could calm controversy that’s been building surrounding

Connaughton’s attempt to replace Porter on the Human Rights Commission.

Connaughton, R-at-large, said he and the other board members have been

discussing the issue in trying to “work it through” and “do

the right thing.”

Controversy surrounding Connaughton’s attempt to replace Porter erupted

in mid-January when residents and activist groups voiced support for Porter,

who has served as the commission’s chairman since its inception in 1993.

Many said they thought Connaughton’s reasons for not reappointing Porter

stemmed from a decision by the Human Rights Commission to set up a table

at a gay rights event this summer in Washington, D.C.

Connaughton later admitted he blundered in thinking the reappointment

was his to make. In actuality, all appointments to the Human Rights Commission

are made at-large, meaning no members represent any magisterial district.

The entire board votes on the appointments to the commission. The commission

then selects its chairman from its membership.

The nine-member commission hears cases on discrimination allegations

in areas of the county’s human rights ordinance.



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