Supervisors move toward compromise on human rights appointee
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
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.