Rowland Dabney Buford


from
The Richmond Virginia Times
February 12, 1902

AN OLD VIRGINIAN'S ADVICE

We print elsewhere a striking communication from Mr. R. D. Buford, of Bedford city, who, according to his own account of himself, was clerk or deputy clerk of Circuit or County Court continuously from 1842 to 1899.  In that long and rich experience Mr. Buford necessarily familiarized himself with the question which he discusses, and he makes some recommendations to the Constitutional Convention which are well worth of consideration.

Assuming that the old County Court system is to be abolished, he argues that the Circuit Court judges should be elected by the voters resident in the counties and corporations composing their respective circuits, and that each judge so elected should be an actual resident of the circuit for which he is elected.  He is opposed to the election of judges, either Circuit Court judges or corporation judges or Supreme Court judges, by the legislature.

His next recommendation has to do with the manner of selecting justices of the peace.  He thinks that it should be made the duty of the judges of the Circuit Courts in their respective circuits to select and make the first appointments for the several magisterial districts of the counties comprising their circuits, and after that, in case of resignation, death or removal of a justice, the justices in commission, or a majority of them, shall meet and fill vacancies.  He thinks also that these justices should constitute and be called the Board of Commissioners, and that they should be in place of the Board of Supervisors, as at present constituted.

Mr. Buford's third recommendation is that the office of county treasurer be abolished, and that the functions of that officer be performed by the sheriff.  This suggestion has been time and again made and is not new, but Mr. Buford's reason for the change is new to us.  He reasons that apart from the fact, as he claims, that the office is useless, it destroys in great measure the usefulness of one of the most important offices of the Commonwealth - the office of sheriff.  He declares that this office has now run down at the heels and become comparatively useless, and that in order to secure the services of good men  extra levies have to be made to the people.  In other words, he contends that the office of sheriff pays so little that good men are often not willing to hold it, and that in order to make it more remunerative, and therefore more to be sought after by competent persons, the office of treasurer should be abolished and the duty of collecting taxes be discharged by the sheriff.

We have simply outlined the main points in Mr. Buford's interesting and thoughtful communication.  We think that  members of the Constitutional Convention will be well repaid if they will read the argument.
 


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