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After 30 years on EDA board ‘Billy’ Biggs announces resignation

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William “Billy” Biggs, far right, says “cheese” with EDA colleagues, from left, Ron Llewellyn, Jennifer McDonald, Greg Drescher and Bruce Drummond. Royal Examiner File Photo

Citing lingering health issues and a fall over the weekend, William “Billy” Biggs tendered his resignation Monday as the longtime Treasurer of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors, effective immediately.  Mr. Biggs had served on the board since February 1988; his unexpired term will end in February 2020.

EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald told Royal Examiner via text last night that she did not have a prepared statement ready, saying, “I’m still upset about it but will have something prepared tomorrow.”

McDonald’s emotions are understandable, her own lengthy term at the EDA, beginning as an intern while in college in the late 1990’s and culminating with her appointment as executive director in April 2008, is overshadowed by Biggs’ 30-year tenure on the board, the last 28 as board treasurer.

“I cannot express my gratitude to Mr. B for all of his support and dedication to me and this organization over the years,” McDonald said early Thursday afternoon, adding,  “I have worked with Bill since I first started as an intern at the EDA and he has helped me grow throughout my career with his advice and stern words.”

Contacted Wednesday evening, Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Carter said that the board had learned of Biggs’ decision earlier in the day, and said he understood the resignation to be because of health reasons.

Carter went on to say, “We very much appreciate Billy for his service to the County as a longtime member of the EDA.  He was instrumental in getting us some very good interest rates on loans.”

Carter denied that there was any pressure on Biggs from the board of supervisors or County Administrator Doug Stanley to resign from the EDA Board, stating that he believed Biggs’ health issues brought about the sudden resignation.

When contacted Thursday morning, October 11, about his resignation, Biggs stated, “It’s not true.  I know what you are going to ask me about Doug Stanley – it’s not true.  Tony and Doug would not do that to me. It’s not true.”

Asked about the rumor he had been pressured to resign in a second conversation later that morning, Biggs added, “It’s the furthest thing from anything like that – they wanted me to stay; but sometimes you are your own best doctor.”

While seeking to minimize his health issues, the 76-year-old Biggs admitted to a recent fall that impacted his mobility.  He has suffered knee and hip issues for much of his life, dating in part he noted to complications from a football injury during his youth.  A stroke suffered about five years ago had further negative consequences on his mobility.

With Biggs’ departure the EDA board will lose a wealth of institutional and financial knowledge that could serve it well during a current audit of its loan programs.  Asked about legal turmoil now surrounding EDA Executive Director McDonald, Biggs said, “I’ve been accused of so much in my life – I know how it is.”

The EDA board has suffered the loss of two other experienced members, former Chair Patty Wines and Jim Eastham who both passed away within the last two years.  Noting the loss of his former colleagues and his own resignation due to age-related health issues, Biggs said perhaps term limits for the EDA board would be a positive.

“The president has a term limit; maybe the EDA should have one too. I think it’s good to get new blood and new ideas in there,” Biggs reasoned.

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