Walkersville Commissioner Assigned to Texas by Military

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An Open Letter from Walkersville Commissioner Mike McNiesh

Citizens of Walkersville:

2020 has been a trying year for all of us. Many in our community have suffered in different ways during the COVID crisis that is still affecting us. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, the loss of important events like graduation or prom, or the loss of a job that supports your family, if we have not been personally affected, we do know someone who has.

My family was not left unaffected. On Sept 30th the airline that I had been employed with for over 16 years closed permanently, and I was left without a primary job and source of income. The position that I was hoping to assume sometime this past spring or summer at a larger airline also disappeared with the arrival of COVID.

I consider myself very fortunate and thankful that I was able to find another option. While serving you in this community, I have continued to serve the country as a Military member in the Air National Guard. My Commanders have since provided me with some opportunities to pay my bills through December. This does come at a cost however, and that is why I am addressing the community tonight.

On occasion the requirements of a Military Unit changes and sometimes that requires retraining and duty elsewhere. This is happening to me. At the beginning of January, I am being sent to an Air Force school in Texas and will be out of the area until the beginning of August.

Since this is a temporary, albeit extended assignment my family is staying here at home. My sons attend two of our great schools and my wife is involved in our community in multiple ways. Combined with the fact that I will be returning to Walkersville at the completion of my duties there, I have no plans to resign. I intend to continue to serve Walkersville as a Commissioner and look forward to my return home to our great town.

A vast majority of the work we do is not in the meeting room. That along with the ability to attend meetings via our improved technology, will allow me to remain fully involved and engaged in the duties and decision making of the Board. I will not have a vote but that does not overly concern me based upon our past record and our continued ability to work together for the benefit of this great town. In Addition, the COVID19 pandemic has forced businesses and governments around the world to move towards the virtual realm with significant success, Walkersville being no different.

While I am gone, I am requesting that the Board as a whole or the Burgess under his spending authority reallocate those funds budgeted to pay my commissioner salary equally to the following organizations.

  1. Glade Valley Community Services
  2. Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company
  3. Rescue Company
  4. The Walkersville Veterans Committee.

I will also state now that I intend to run again next September and have already filed the required paperwork to do so. I believe that I as an individual member, and the Board as a whole, have accomplished significant things this term and I think we are just getting started. The best is yet to come!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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