Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a profession, start a non-profit, anything you can dream…) Grants up to $1,000 are awarded each year to Warren County women to help make their dreams come true. If you have a dream or know someone in your life who has a dream and needs a financial boost to make it happen, this is your opportunity. The Dare to Dream grants are available to women living in Warren County, ages 18 years and older, not currently enrolled in high school. Application deadline is January 15, 2021. Recipients will be announced in March 2021.
- Applications are available at Samuel’s Public Library.
- Applications are also available on our website: frwrc.org/apply
- By calling or emailing the office at 540-636-7007; email@example.com
- Visit our website for more information: www.frwrc.org
The Front Royal Women’s Resource Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1996 to provide a support network for women in Warren County. Through monthly networking meetings, yearly grant presentations, special events, email connections and program activities, we have forged a link between women in our community.
Claiming sexual harassment and cover up, former Council Clerk files federal retaliatory termination suit against Town of Front Royal
Alleging a long-term pattern of sexual harassment by former Front Royal Councilman and Vice-Mayor William Sealock and subsequent efforts by other Town officials, including then councilman and current mayor Chris Holloway, to have her withdraw internal complaints about the behavior, former Clerk of Council Jennifer Berry has filed a federal wrongful/retaliatory termination lawsuit against the Town of Front Royal.
The suit was filed on January 4, 2021, in the U.S. Western District of Virginia Court in Harrisonburg. It describes a lengthy and multi-faceted series of events, first alleged against Sealock commencing shortly after his January 2017 swearing on to council, for sexually explicit comments or actions (paragraphs 14 to 36 of linked lawsuit); and later indicating a lack of internal checks and balances to address Berry’s complaints, and even alleged observations about potential impacts on her family and employment initially expressed by then-Councilman Holloway if she did not drop the matter – Paragraphs 37 to 73 of the lawsuit. Attempts to reach Sealock and Holloway by phone prior to publication were unsuccessful.
The Town of Front Royal is accused of “discriminatory and retaliatory employment practices” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., as amended (“Title VII”) and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (the “FMLA”). Counts cited include Count 1: Discrimination on the Basis of Sex; Count 2: Unlawful Retaliation; Count 3: Retaliatory Hostile Work Environment; and Count 4: Violations of FMLA, the latter related to planned time off for foot surgery in December 2019-January 2020 timeframe just prior to her termination.
The suit seeks: “all legal and equitable remedies available under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., including, but not limited to, declaratory and injunctive relief, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, placement into a position she would be holding but for Defendant’s discriminatory conduct, and any other legal or equitable relief as the Court deems appropriate.” A jury trial is sought.
After working for 15 years as Front Royal’s Council Clerk, following an initial five-year term (1998-2003) as an administrative assistant in the Town Department of Public Works, with a break in 2003-05 during which she gave birth to her child, Berry was terminated on February 4, 2020. By April 1, 2020, she had filed a charge of “discrimination against Defendant Town” the background portion of her lawsuit notes.
Her termination came despite a history of positive job performance reviews as late as July 2019, her attorney Timothy Cupp of Harrisonburg wrote, quoting from that 2019 evaluation approximately six months prior to her termination: “Defendant Town described Plaintiff in the Overall Performance Review comments as: ‘Exceptional employee, valuable team member, goes above & beyond, Glue in organization, pleasant & kind, on time with duties, excellent job. Pleasant employee to Work with her knowledge, experience and willingness to assist’.”
What changed during the subsequent six months?
According to her attorney’s description of his client’s experience, it was Berry’s unwillingness to drop her effort to have her employer, Sealock’s fellow elected officials on council, as well as the Town Human Resources apparatus, put a stop to Councilman Sealock’s alleged sexually tinged and demeaning behavior.
Rather than help in a municipal environment with a supposed “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual harassment, her bringing the issue to other members of council as well as filing a complaint with the Town Department of Human Resources, had a counter affect, Berry claims. That counter-affect was multiple instances of institutional retaliatory behavior culminating with her termination as part of the interim town manager’s “right-sizing” slashing of Town personnel and departments in early 2020.
The federal Title VII filing describes the final chapter of Berry’s three-plus-year experience of dealing with the alleged sexual harassment unfold:
(Paragraph) 69. On January 30, 2020, Plaintiff was contacted by email and text and told that her job was subject to “right-sizing,” that her Clerk position was to be abolished and that the Clerk position was to be a part-time position. She further was told that her employment with the Defendant Town would be terminated effective February 4, 2020. The result was that a 20-year employee of the Town had gone from being the employee slated to receive a promotion and raise in the summer of 2019 to an employee being terminated despite the fact that her Clerk position was required by the Town’s charter to be filled by the Town.
70. Moreover, Plaintiff previously had been employed as Clerk to the Council on a part-time basis. She became Certified as a Clerk and her position had been moved to full time. Plaintiff could have continued her employment in a part-time capacity without additional cost to Defendant Town and without losing her benefits. Defendant Town did not allow Plaintiff to remain employed with the Town in the position in which she had performed well.
71. Defendant Town’s termination of Plaintiff’s employment, however, was not about saving money. It was pretext for Defendant’s discrimination against Plaintiff based on her sex and/or for its retaliation for Plaintiff’s opposition to Defendant Town’s conduct that violated Title VII.
Go to the linked suit, published in its entirety by Royal Examiner, to see the federal Title VII complaint’s personal and institutional allegations leading up to the “right-sizing” conclusion of Ms. Berry’s 20 years of service to the Town of Front Royal.
Process in Local Government
So, a fellow Councilmen is interested in exploring the option of naming a road after our 45th President. Oh boy! POLITICAL SUICIDE!!! The local newspaper is not thrilled (to say the least).
And now our Mayor has published a Press Release denouncing it as well. A press release that was sent to me at 4:55 PM and posted to Facebook a mere hour later without any responses to the discussion generated by the Councilmen being thrown under the Presser (pronounced “Bus”).
When Councilmen Lloyd asked me if I would help him bring this to the Agenda, I said yes. And why would I do that? Well, staying clear of any and all political agendas, I said yes because this was a topic that he wanted to bring to the work session. And you need two councilmen to agree to it. If I want to bring a topic onto the Agenda, I hope that he will second those in the future.
During the Work Session, this past Monday, you can see the thoughtful discussion that Council was having regarding the topic. It was a third item raised by Councilmen Lloyd during our open discussion session of the meeting. Considering the Pros and Cons of a topic is what thoughtful representatives of the people are supposed to do, no? Councilmen Lloyds’ point regarding the fact that 67% of Warren County did actually vote for the 45th President of the UNITIED STATES OF AMERICA was valid. And those voters do feel upset and disenfranchised. On the Cons side, we have to consider costs. Where does it lead? How will the public feel about it?
I had a discussion with Councilmen Lloyd on the topic the other day when he asked if I would be willing to second it, just so it could make it on the Agenda in a WORK SESSION. He wasn’t asking me to bring it to a vote or even if I would vote for it. Just to help him bring something to a work session to discuss. I expressed to Councilmen Lloyd that I did not believe that this would ever get through to a vote. I told him that he could consider trying to raise private funds to cut public costs. I reminded him that we’d need to learn about president (SIC) regarding renaming of roads. I suggested that he try to find a single-home owner street that would be in favor or a business in a similar situation as the one Councilmen Meza raised during the work session – CBM Mortgage got their lane renamed “Hometown” so they could use it in marketing materials.
Now let’s go to the Press Release issued tonight – It felt to me like “cancel culture” on full display, in the form of a Press Release from our own Mayor?
Are we not able to discuss issues or even bring them to the table for discussion without them being cancelled beforehand?
I get it. If you don’t think it is a good idea – don’t vote for it. If you think it is an issue, express that in the work session. It’s good government. And in a County where 67% of the population voted for #45 – I’m not sure you need to go on the offensive against bad press on this one.
We already have enough other things deserving of actual Press Releases at this time, don’t we?
Front Royal, Virginia
New Town Manager welcomed to EDA Closed Session discussion of Afton Inn, litigation
The EDA Board of Directors met on Friday, January 22, 2021, for a regular monthly board meeting. New Front Royal Town Manager Steven Hicks joined Board of Supervisors Chair Cheryl Cullers, Supervisor Walt Mabe, and Interim County Administrator Ed Daley at the beginning of the meeting for a two-hour Closed session. Those present appreciated Mr. Hick’s participation and welcomed a frank discussion about topics of common importance to the Town, County, and EDA.
Of primary importance is working together to get the sale of the Afton Inn across the finish line. Developers Jim Burton and Alan Omar, of 2 East Main, LLC, are looking forward to closing by February 12th and getting the renovation project under way. This building is a featured property in the Town’s historic Community Development Block Grant award and promises to be a marquee of Main Street in Downtown Front Royal.
EDA Chair Jeff Browne reviewed the 2021 calendar dates for the remaining regular monthly board meetings and Director Jim Wolfe shared an update on the progress of the Strategic Plan development. Finance Chair Jorie Martin gave a budget update and noted that Brown Edwards is working to finish the FY 2018 and FY2019 audits and hope to have working drafts ready for review in February.
Executive Doug Parsons updated the Board on a variety of activities and projects, including the latest on the new EDA website and a Leach Run Parkway financial review. Lastly Mr. Parsons discussed a proposal by the economic development authorities in Clarke, Frederick, Page, and Shenandoah counties to participate in a regional workforce talent attraction website. The Board tabled the discussion until further information about goals and functions of the site could be reviewed.
The EDA Board of Directors will have their regular monthly board meeting via Zoom on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 8 a.m.
4 jobs you can easily do from home
Do you want to enjoy the benefits of telecommuting? Here are four jobs that can easily be done from home.
If you want to do this type of work, you must be proficient in at least two languages. Depending on your experience, you might be hired to translate anything from literary texts to technical documents. You can work remotely for an agency or find your own clients as a freelancer.
2. Social media manager
3. Accounting clerk
If you’re organized, meticulous, and great with numbers, this might be the job for you. With the help of spreadsheets and accounting software, you can easily carry out a variety of bookkeeping and clerical tasks without stepping foot in the company’s office.
4. Customer service representative
If you’re a good listener with strong communication skills who also enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems, consider becoming a customer service representative. Whether you answer questions over the phone, process return request emails, or man the technical support chat line, there are plenty of ways to assist customers from the comfort of your home.
If you decide to telecommute, visit office supply stores in your area, so you can set up an ergonomic workspace in your home.
POLICE: 7 Day FRPD Arrest Report 1/25/2021
The perfect dress for your body type
One of the most important factors to consider when searching for the perfect wedding dress is what silhouette will best flatter your figure. While the consultants at a local bridal boutique can offer more personalized recommendations, here are a few basic tips for some common body shapes.
• Hourglass. Show off your natural curves with a sheath dress or a mermaid gown, and accentuate your chest with a sweetheart neckline.
• Pear-shape. Choose an A-line or ballgown silhouette to accentuate your natural waistline, and balance the full skirt with a boat neckline or cap sleeves.
• Rectangle. Create a sexy silhouette with a bias cut or fit-and-flare dress in a lightweight fabric, and opt for a V-neckline and low back.
• Diamond. Select a gown with a flared skirt and thin straps or a detailed bodice that will draw attention to your upper body.
• Inverted triangle. Balance your proportions by pairing a high neckline and long sleeves with a slit or asymmetrical skirt that emphasizes your legs.
• Round. Opt for the flowing skirts of an empire-waist gown, and provide support for your chest with a boat neckline and an elegant off-the-shoulder look.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and the important thing is that you feel comfortable and beautiful in the dress you choose.