Members Elect New Chair for Pittsylvania Co. Board of Supervisors in Tense Meeting

Update 5:15 p.m.:

In a surprising move Wednesday morning, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors elected a new Chairman after the untimely death of Marshall Ecker. Not everyone took part in that vote, however.

Vice Chairman Brenda Bowman, who had assumed Ecker's duties as chair, says she was stunned by the surprise meeting. Bowman was so stunned, she walked out.

Bowman says she was told about the special called meeting on Monday, but had no idea what would take place.

"I was the chairman, and no one consulted with me. I did not know that this was coming," she said.

She declared the meeting out of order, saying any action taken would not be recognized. But the County Attorney said that was not true and allowed voting to proceed.

"Several board members Friday wanted to call me and say, "We want you to be chairman, we want to reorganize," said James Snead.

After Bowman and Supervisor Jessie Barksdale walked out of the meeting, Dan River District Supervisor James Snead was elected Chair 4 to 0.

"Our county right now needs to stabilize and heal," said Snead.

But Bowman said the late Marshall Ecker would've been displeased with the way the situation was handled.

"I think this is very disrespectful to the memory of Mr. Ecker. He loved this county and he loved the citizens of this district and he would not have wanted this to happen."

Tim Barber, a former chairman himself who now steps up as vice chair, said for him, it came down to experience.

"Mrs. Bowman has only been on the Board less than two years. I know myself, I didn't run for chairman until I had been on there six and Mr. Snead's been on there six. So, I'm not saying you can't do it without experience, but experience is always a good thing," said Barber.

He hopes going forward, his colleagues can put their feelings aside to do what's best for the county.

"I think everybody is professional and wants to move forward, and we'll all pull together and move forward for the citizens because that's what we do. We represent people and we've got to make their lives better," said Barber.

Bowman says the board was going to reorganize in January and this vote could have waited until that time.


Pittsylvania Co., VA - Following the death of their Chairman Marshall Ecker, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors had a special called meeting Wednesday morning that left some members in shock.

Vice Chairman Brenda Bowman had stepped in to fulfill Ecker's duties as chair, but two members called a meeting to take a vote that would change that.

Bowman declared the meeting illegal according to their constitution. But the County Attorney said the meeting was legal, and the vote could proceed.

Dan River District Supervisor James Snead was elected Chair 4 to 0 after Bowman and Supervisor Jessie Barksdale walked out of the meeting.

Bowman says she felt the decision came too soon after the death of Mr. Ecker.

"You would think that out of respect to Mr. Ecker and to the vision that he had and the way that he wanted to move this county forward, that they would have waited until January. They still could've voted in the Chairman they wanted in January," said Bowman.

Hear what the new Chairman James Snead had to say about the surprise vote--on ABC 13 News Wednesday night.