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‘At will’ versus ‘due process’ Town employment: Time for a change of perspective for all?

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Town Hall was recently decorated for Memorial Day – one reader asks if it isn’t time for a ‘re-decoration’ and change of perspective inside the seat of town government. Royal Examiner File Photo

Virginia law allows “at will” employment, meaning a person can be fired with or without cause. Front Royal government staff are “at will” employees but the Interim Town Manager has a contract which requires due process to terminate.

If Town Council believes one of its employees deserves such respect and job stability, would Council consider offering the same across the board – due-process contracts to all Town staff?

Such a move could prevent another occurrence of sudden firings of key personnel that has left at least one department, Tourism, in turmoil and in a scramble for re-structuring. It could also create confidence that it is the Town’s elected officials who are in charge of their interim town manager appointee, rather than the reverse.

Would they care by such a gesture, though perhaps too late, to try and create some sense of integrity for themselves and the image of the town?

The employees fired were part of tourism, a source of revenue; and, planning which helps find the best place for new businesses to locate. Firing the town engineer who had at least fifteen projects to supervise will now cost more and who does these jobs now?

A public accusation is also tied to the fired Director of Tourism and Community Development – “She never once reported to Town Council when we asked her to explain what she did.”

But is that an accurate assessment?

Look at past agendas until reaching one circa April 2016. She performed publicly when scheduled with the Council, ran morning Business Forums several times, and many times attended Town Council meetings along with the also suddenly departed Director of Planning.

I witnessed their attendance and input at Town Council meetings. And, activity reports were required every two weeks from Department heads until the practice stopped in November 2019. She also made it clear in public (December 12, 2016 report to Council) that she was available anytime Council members wanted to discuss any ideas, suggestions, and issues with her.

Another approach to our integrity and image problems with Council is about five months away when we could elect three new people to Council. Let’s elect persons who see the questions, fact find, consider consequences of decisions, act in a timely manner, listen, and who will be absolutely transparent to all town citizens.

What a welcome change that would be from the current majority of seemingly partisan puppets of a local political machine.

Linda Allen
Front Royal, Virginia

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Opinion

Good time for a Back to School Prayer Walk

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“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” Matthew 18:19-20.

Each year during the fall high holy days on Yom Kippur ancient Israel fasted and prayed and provided an offering to make atonement for the sins of the nation. Thus they were purified for a year before God. However, this was not all. The following week began the Feast of Tabernacles, during which the nation of Israel in turn sacrificed 70 bulls according to Numbers 29:12-34. Although God did not provide a specific explanation for the sacrifice of these bulls it is believed these sacrifices were meant to cover the other nations of the world. In a similar manner it is the Church’s responsibility to cover the planet and intercede for all humanity through our prayers.

For a number of years church congregations have prayed for Shenandoah Valley schools, families and surrounding communities in support of another school season. The Word of God commands us in Philippians 4:6-7 to not worry, but to instead lift up every concern to the Lord in prayer. When we do this, we are promised a peace that surpasses human understanding. Our church community is committed to prayer. Last year, many churches participated in “Back to School Prayer Walks” involving elementary, middle and high schools and facilities in various communities and townships throughout our great valley. The walkers casually strolled through the school yards and neighborhoods, praying and seeking the Holy Spirit to intercede for them.

Including children is crucial to the school prayer walk. Parents are always overjoyed about how their children are engaged during the walk. Every student wants to pray over their own school. The Church believes in the importance of demonstrating and teaching the next generation of Christians to pray over their neighbors and community and that it is our responsibility to engage in the spiritual welfare of others.

August is a very good time to conduct a School Prayer Walk. Prayer walkers can gather together in a school parking lot for a group prayer before splitting into teams. Each team can be given maps and assignments to pray over selected schools as part of a plan to spread out and provide coverage for current and future public school sites. The walkers then can drive to their assigned schools and surrounding communities to intercede for the thousands of students and staff.

Scripture is clear about its significance to the work in the Kingdom of God. In fact, God has chosen prayer to be one of the primary means by which He accomplishes His purposes in the world. Prayer Walking is an attempt to pray among those you are trying to reach. The goal is about obedience to God’s command to pray for others and faithfulness to join Him in His work.

Mark Gunderman
Stephens City, Virginia

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Royal Examiner staffer reply to: Retire the ‘Redskins’

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The issue of changing the Washington NFL team’s nickname due to racist connotations has arisen previously. And as this reporter/editor noted during one of those cycles of national attention, the origin of the term “Redskin” came about during the westward migration of primarily white, European ancestry Americans through the 1800’s when bounties were offered for killing Indians. Eventually it was decided it was too cumbersome to make a person transport the dead Indian or Indians’ bodies at distance to collect their bounty. So, it was authorized that an Indian scalp was sufficient evidence of the murder to collect your bounty.

At the time Indian scalps were commonly referred to as “Redskins” a term which evolved into a racial slur to Indians in general. And while over time the scalping reference receded from public consciousness as the murder/bounty practice stopped as the west was “won”, and eventually the racist origins receded from memory as well, that is the historical context of the name’s origin, as well as the practice of scalping in the old West.

That said, as a D.C.-born lifelong fan of Washington professional sports franchises, if often not their owners, I would offer one addition to Mr. Pickering’s alternate names list, at least for the tenure of Daniel Snyder’s ownership of the team:

  • Washington’s Irrelevant Reds
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Opinion

Retire the Redskins

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The Washington Redskins National Football League franchise is a disgrace! In the year 2020, Washington team owner Daniel Snyder cannot possibly continue to rationalize keeping his ridiculously racist team name in the face of widespread, righteous public condemnation of Snyder’s racist recalcitrance.

Our nation’s capitol’s team name “The Redskins” will be retired before this football season begins, if Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has anything to say about it: “The time [for the name] has ended. There is no way to justify it. You either step into this century or you don’t. It’s up to the owner of the team to do that.”

In 1997, Washington, D.C.’s National Basketball Association franchise willingly changed its name from “The Bullets” to “The Wizards”. So what’s Daniel Snyder’s problem (other than being a bigot)?

As silly as some of these monikers are below, any one of them would be preferable to Washington D.C.’s current NFL team name. Take your pick, Mr. Snyder:

  • Washington Redcoats
  • Washington Rednecks
  • Washington Redrums
  • Washington Red Dawns
  • Washington Red Foxes
  • Washington Red Lines
  • Washington Red Rovers
  • Washington Red Tides
  • Washington Red Riding Hoods
  • Washington Red Sparrows
    (Melania Trump could be the Red Sparrows mascot)

Sincerely,

Jake Pickering 
Arcata, California

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Opinion

Why I Stand

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During RFD-TV’s The American presented by DISH, fans were treated to a moving video of Meredith Looney LaMirande’s poem, “Why I Stand.”

Read the complete poem below. “Why I Stand” by Meredith Looney LaMirande:

I don’t do it out of obligation,

I don’t do it because I’m told.

I don’t do it because I was trained,

I don’t do it to be bold.

I stand for our National Anthem because I’m forever grateful to be free.

I stand for the Anthem to respect, those before me.

The broad stripes and bright stars are symbols of freedom which is rare.

The type of freedom that was won, while bombs burst in the air.

I stand for bravery dating back, to the Revolutionary War.

Battling the greatest army, not knowing what was in store.

I stand for the heroes who stormed Normandy, that fatal day.

Accepting that the ultimate sacrifice might be the price to pay.

I stand for our twin towers, as a tribute that we have not forgotten.

I salute our military for ending, our fear that was Bin Ladin.

Our children are born, with rights and freedoms at birth.

How blessed are we to live, in the greatest nation on Earth.

Where democracy is our foundation, and there is opportunity for all.

A country free from oppression, our Lady Liberty stands tall.

A first-class military whose dedication is second to none.

Patriots ready to perform, when the war must be won.

We have wounded warriors who would return, if only they could,

Doing more for this country, than any single person should.

Heroes have fallen, their caskets draped in red, white, and blue.

Stand up, sing along, their lives were given for you.

So as long as the star-spangled banner, yet wave.

I stand for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

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A perspective on Stanley’s service, removal

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Dear Sir:

I have spent considerable time in Warren County over the past several years and have been present on several occasions in which Doug Stanley was a prominent figure.  He was often the center of attention and you could sense the respect and pride others had in him.  That was also evident at his final Board of Supervisors’ meeting, where many of his staff were there supporting him.

Doug Stanley on the job in Warren County – Royal Examiner File Photo

I met Stanley several years ago and was impressed with his knowledge of government, knowledge of quality processes, empathy for the citizens under his care, his vision for the future of Warren County, his ability to lead his staff and communicate with its citizens.  I wondered why he wasn’t higher in government service for the commonwealth or at the federal level.  I thought Warren County was fortunate to have him.

Stanley served Warren County for about 25 years.  That is a full career for many professions; he gave the best years of his professional life to Warren County.  I was not there, but was told by others he was denigrated at a meeting reminiscent of The Jerry Springer Show with people yelling from the audience and no control from the Board of Supervisors.  In contrast, the meeting where he was terminated was closed and the BOS did not allow any speakers at the associated three minute open session.

Perhaps Stanley was caught up as a scapegoat in the Economic Development Authority scandal and debacle.  However, I understand he was totally exonerated and was instrumental in unraveling the mess.  He deserved a medal, not a pink slip.

This was a shabby way to treat this leader and citizen of Warren County and a man that gave much of his life and heart to Warren County.  I hope and expect he will rebound somewhere to a much more prominent position where the citizens will benefit from his vision and expertise.  I don’t think the members of the BOS knew what a special person they had.  This will go down in Warren County history as a sad and embarrassing event.

Robert Turner
Chesapeake, Virginia

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Opinion

2 EDA’S in our region?

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This County vs. Town and Town vs. County is getting out of control.

Will all of this EDA and interest payment on the new Police Dept. be settled after the election?

Is making a new EDA for the same location within the state a little unethical? Why raise the taxpayer’s taxes just to have control of “who gets Boardwalk”?

Why can’t Town and County work together for the betterment of both boundaries? What about their constituents? Don’t elective officials listen to the people anymore? We the people are supposed to be heard and not be “silent” just because the power of position has gone to the elected official’s head!

With all the happenings going on in our country today? Can’t this small community of people be a light to others in getting along for the betterment of all and not just some?

It is sad that America has come to this unrecognizable place to live in. I know that my father, a veteran of WWII, would turn over in his grave.

Still proud to be called an American!

Tenia Smith
Front Royal, VA

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