Good points. Thanks for clarifying. I can see one of the big things is that the proposal didn't seem to pass through any channels of communication before being brought up. If that is the case, then I can absolutely see a big problem with that.
I think for me one of the issues that you have with having the Region judges determine a ranking, is that there is a difference between judging to a "standard" and judging to a "ranking". Like it or not, we have created an intentionally non-competitive evaluation at the Region level, and it makes a judge's job simple. At the Area level, it's different. You are not even using the same sheet. It's a raw score to determine a "level" of excellence - again, specific to the sheet. If we think "personal preference" is bad now.....wait until you put the judge in the spot after the 1A's have performed, and have them make a judgment call(not based on a rubric) on ranking.
I'll even throw out something else.
Why not have a "virtual" format for Area for the sake of travel and logistics. It would be similar to sending in tapes for OPS or Honor Band. Have your 5 judges at a certain location, and schedule your bands the same way as you would on a regular contest day. Use their own field. Bring in fans, whatever you want to do. You could even host it through something as simple as Zoom. I know it's radical....but like you said, why not let your 1A directors give you some input on how to make it better. I think it's safe to say that just getting a first division shouldn't automatically qualify you for State. Ever other quality competitive entity has a multi-step process to ensure the "best of the best" get there. (S&E is not competitive in that sense)