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Prince William ‘Slush’ Funds at Center of Debate

By Potomac Local News June 3, 2012 9:28 pm

4 Comments

UPDATED

By URIAH KISER

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The debate over discretionary funds in Prince William County has reached a crescendo, prompting one official to call for banning them altogether.

Discretionary funds, also dubbed “slush funds,” are monies left over to Prince William County Supervisors after the costs of operating their offices have been paid. Each supervisor has an office to serve their respective magisterial districts, each with staff to field questions and concerns from constituents.

On Saturday, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge, Fauquier, said he would introduce legislation next year that would bar local governing boards from having discretionary funds.

“If the Supervisors feel that they have a special project they want to do, put it in front of the people at the time the budget passes when folks are focused on the process,” said Lingamfelter. “I don’t think its right to provide politicians with money that they can hand out or expend on just about anything they want. While I know they have to put each item before the board for a vote, most times this is just a formality. A more disciplined approach is required.”

The Prince William Board is expected to address the matter at Tuesday’s meeting. Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins since the beginning of the year has donated at least $7,350 of his funds to local schools, a library, to the Prince William / Greater Manassas Boys and Girls Clubs, and other local organizations — more than any other Supervisor in Prince William’s Potomac Communities. He said the “discretionary” term doesn’t paint the entire picture.

“The term is misused; there really aren’t any discretionary funds. The funds we do have are used to run offices and are moved around occasionally to fund certain things,” Jenkins said Sunday afternoon.

Other supervisors in the Potomac Communities have also donated to certain causes like public schools, charity walks, events, the arts, and environmental organizations, according to public meeting agendas.

Supervisor Maureen Caddigan has donated $4,150, Marty Nohe $3,400, Frank Principi $1,625, and Mike May $375 since beginning of 2012.

According to documents produced by the Prince William County Budget office, public school funding is the largest portion of the funding pie, accounting for 48 percent of the county’s $912 million budget.

The debate is also turning heads in neighboring Stafford County where Lingamfelter’s proposed legislation got the attention of Board of Supervisors Chairman Susan Stimpson. After Lingamfelter announced his pending legislation,  Stimpson took to her Facebook page to share her thoughts. 

“I love it when politicians grandstand. One delegate (not from Stafford!) just sent out an email update that he is going to introduce legislation to prevent local governments from having “slush” funds. I wrote him an email telling him that not all local governments are corrupt and perhaps we should meet to discuss this legislation. He said he’d have his staffer call my office. Um, yeah. I don’t have an office. And I don’t have an assistant,” Stimpson posted.

Stimpson never mentioned Lingamfelter by name, and told PotomacLocal.com that Stafford Supervisors do not have discretionary funds or individual offices or aides. Stafford does employ one Citizens Action Officer who handles questions or complaints from county residents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000915700444 Kristin Forrester

    While I certainly don’t agree with our
    Superviors’ use of “leftovers” (particularly the funds they use to
    purchase advertisements that promote themselves and their upcoming
    campaigns) to further their own favorite projects and groups, I
    absolutely do not support the idea of the Commonwealth limiting or
    eliminating the practice. The Supervisors answer to the citizens and the
    citizens can indicate their agreement or disagreement at the polls.I’m
    surprised Lingamfelter would take up such an issue. But, then again, he
    wasn’t interested in supporting any legislation that would empower our
    elderly to defend themselves against abuse, neglect and theft while in
    long term care, even refused to speak with me about the problem on
    several occasions, so maybe it’s not surprising. Maybe Lingamfelter is
    more interested in limiting the rights of citizens to take care of
    themselves (as evidenced by his unwillingness to help elderly and now
    his desire to have supervisor discretion taken from them by the state
    instead of by the citizens they serve). Hmmmm- electeds who would rather
    limit the power of citizen control through more government involvement…doesn’t sound like a conservative position
    to me…What happened to Republicans who believe in small government, limited taxation and the provision of basic human rights?  Seems that’s popular in writing but appears far less frequently in practice.  As for our Supervisors, I’m confident they will make a good decision that aligns with the desire of those whom they serve.

  • DumfriesCitizen

    Does the member of the various town’s council’s in Prince
    William County have a slush fund or do they depend on Donations from
    business in their’s Town?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • http://PotomacLocal.com/ Uriah Kiser

    That’s a good question. One that I will work to find an answer for as the Dumfries Town Council will meet on Tuesday.

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