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OPINION: County Administrator replies to Silek letter

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January 4, 2018
David Silek, 8500 Leesburg Pike, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182

RE: Letter of December 27, 2017

Dear Mr. Silek,

I am writing to follow up on your letter of December 27th, specifically your concerns relative to your inaccurate assertion that the County is spending taxpayer money to supply NARCAN and on the associated training costs for the administering of such. I am not sure where you received your information, but please be assured that Warren County does not spend any taxpayer money on the purchase of NARCAN.

If first responders from the Warren County Fire and Rescue Department use NARCAN, whether transporting the patient or not, the hospital replaces what was used at no cost to the County. If the patient is transported, the hospital then charges the patient on the hospital bill. Like any other call, the County will only charge for the transport of the patient based on the level of care.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office recently implemented a program for deputies to carry NARCAN. The NARCAN was purchased through a grant and was provided at no charge to the Sheriff’s Office. Training for our officers to administer NARCAN was also provided at no charge.

As far as your comments regarding the Economic Development Authority, the Board of Supervisors has a great deal of faith in the individuals that it has appointed to the EDA Board of Directors. Among those appointed include the de facto CEO of the largest employer in the County, the Vice President of Facilities Management and Safety for the largest employer in the region, and the former head of the Town’s community development program. While not everyone on the EDA Board of Directors currently works in the private sector, the Board of Directors, like the community, needs to have diverse representation to market the community and to run the various programs of the EDA. The success of the community in the 1990’s for economic development was buoyed by the County providing land either at no cost or at a reduced rate and with considerable Governor’s Opportunity Fund and Enterprise Zone incentives. The opportunities are no longer there for these incentives in the manner in which they were, and the County, unfortunately, does not have large (100+ acre) tracts of buildable land with which to recruit the larger industries. That said, the EDA continues to make progress utilizing the assets that our community does possess in marketing for investment and jobs.

As far as getting rid of the “crappy hotels” in our community, as an attorney I am sure that you are aware of the fact that effective January 1, 2013; Article 1 Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia was amended to read:
“That the General Assembly shall pass no law whereby private property, the right to which is fundamental, shall be damaged or taken except for public use. No private property shall be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner thereof. No more private property may be taken than necessary to achieve the stated public use. Just compensation shall be no less than the value of the property taken, lost profits and lost access, and damages to the residue caused by the taking. The terms “lost profits” and “lost access” are to be defined by the General Assembly. A public service company, public service corporation, or railroad exercises the power of eminent domain for public use when such exercise is for the authorized provision of utility, common carrier, or railroad services. In all other cases, a taking or damaging of private property is not for public use if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development, except for the elimination of a public nuisance existing on the property. The condemnor bears the burden of proving that the use is public, without a presumption that it is.”
Accordingly, condemning and tearing down hotels, or in this case motels, for redevelopment would be against the Constitution that we swear to uphold and defend.

The EDA does have a plan for economic development in our community, which was last updated in 2014 and can be found here. StratPlanUpdate2014

David, I trust that I have been able to provide some information of which you were not aware when writing your letter and hope that I have been able to set your mind at ease with the spending of precious taxpayer resources on NARCAN. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,

Douglas P. Stanley, AICP ICMA-CM
County Administrator

Editor’s Note:  The above letter was copied to the Chairmen and Members of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron, Warren County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Mabie and to Royal Examiner staff reporter Roger Bianchini.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Joe Dirt

    January 6, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Why did the EDA spend our tax dollars to buy land for the workforce housing project from….. the EDA directors own family?

  2. David W. Silek

    January 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I really am astounded that any reasonable person thinks that an EDA should have an economic plan that is 4 years old and not updated semi-annually to address changing economic factors. It is insane to think 1) that such data is relevant to decision making today; 2) that business leaders would want to rely upon such old data; 3) that such plan has not been updated given changes in local taxes, alleged investment at Avtex site, not to mention any changes in state or federal incentives available through the EDA, or tax law… WOW.

  3. David W. Silek

    January 5, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Dear Doug:

    I consider your response to be disingenuous as best, and at worse just plain wrong. And just further cover for wrong or bad decisions.

    So, I will begin my responses to your missive with this… In typical politician fashion you dodge the question asked of you and the supervisors and in a typical democratic ploy attack the person asking the question. It must be noted that you STILL ignore the primary issue of the first letter and sole reason for the second letter, which was necessitated due to you ignoring the first such letter. To refresh again refresh your memory, addressing the opioid crisis and going after some of those responsible for the crisis and making them help pay for the problem is and remains the issue. Why is that? Or was your missive just some little or feeble attempt by you to get a poke in at me. And we know it was, don’t deny it. Your letter was totally an attempt to defend the status quo and to conjure up the belief that everything is hunky-dory, which it is not. Front Royal and Warren County is wilting away. There is a complete brain drain occurring. Look at Winchester, you do not even need to look further east, to see that young upper income people are locating there, not Warren County.

    To suggest that it cost the county nothing, to have employees attend training and then have to keep current with the training for the use of Narcan, is misleading and just false. It cost the taxpayer. Not only that, the additional training means the officers are eligible to be paid more based upon their additional training the last I recall and I am certain that the grant will not pay for such. I have deputy and town police policies at some point in child support proceedings, and additional certifications led to more pay. Has this policy changed??? Is the grant going to pay for such required continued training or refresher course training? I seriously doubt it. I also doubt the grant is continuing in nature and will cover all the cost of purchase of the Narcan in the future on a long term basis.

    Whenever I hear someone who works for the government, like you, tell me the taxpayer, that something is free. I grab my wallet. Next, I call bullshit. Because somebody has to pay for it, and it is always, always the taxpayer. Get real. But maybe you are like a Washington politician. Those folks all have one of these magical trees that grows money that you can just go pick it off when you need some. After all, you have managed to find a way to spend all of the new tax revenue from the billion+ dollar power plant and increased property values.

    As for the EDA public body members: I don’t understand how the superintendent of schools, who is also the chairman of the EDA has time for both jobs. Much less do his primary job to the fullest of his ability, for which we the taxpayers are paying top dollar. The last time I checked, which was last spring, several Warren County schools were underperforming and were not meeting all state standards and requirements. I used this sad fact against an opposing party because one parent wanted the children to go to school in Warren County and the other parent wanted the children to go to school in Fairfax, in an elementary school that was fully accredited. The one in Warren County was not.

    Why don’t you think the chairman should be focusing more on his full-time job that he’s paid a lot of money to focus his full time and energy upon? Is moonlighting allowed of our top county executives? How many salaries or payments must the taxpayers of Warren County pay this man to do his job? If the schools were great, and doing their job, industry would want to come here! That would be a major job/employer attraction. But guess what… So the suggestion that the head of the county’s largest employer, which is a public entity, which has uncertified schools, should be the head of the EDA is rather questionable indeed.

    Finally, I am well aware of the constitutional provision, I voted for it!!! I wonder if you did. As I recall you and the then county attorney were against it along with the Association of Counties. I voted for it after a Supreme Court decision at the federal level that allowed just the opposite. There was a push by conservatives to protect private property at the state level. But, as you noted in your bolded section of your letter, there is a public nuisance exception. If harboring drug addicts, allowing or condoning felonious activity on your premises and allowing active drug activity to occur on your premises is not a public nuisance, I really don’t know what is. Maybe you just like having active drug activity all over our town and county.

    To defend the status quo is laughable, and Doug, that is all you did in your little missive. Anybody defending the status quo and the disastrous results it is developing for our citizen to endure is quite sad. I expected better from you. We want change in programs and policies that are ineffective. When will you and the Board admit that change needs to occur. That the status quo, of bringing in fast food restaurants and part-time retail jobs that destroy the quality of life, destroy quality of family time spent together and which do not pay enough to exist is not the economic model we need. When will the County tell the EDA director that she will be held accountable for the lack of movement at the Avtex site with the project that is going nowhere; or when will the EDA director be held accountable for “affordable workforce housing” that will cost more per unit than to buy an existing home in Warren County? It is time to truly examine the “emperor’s new clothing” I think.

    Also, is the EDA Director required to file a financial disclosure statement with the County? If so, please provide me a copy of her two most recent filings.

    VR,

    David W. Silek

  4. Connie Marshner

    January 5, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Curious, that the link to the EDA plan is not working today.

    • David W. Silek

      January 6, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Really, why are you surprised a link to an out of date document is not working. What business would want to look at a 4 year old document for current data? Would you?

  5. Sarah

    January 5, 2018 at 8:41 am

    What are your suggestions then? You responded but didn’t come up with any suggestions or ideas or recommend a session to brainstorm some ideas that we could use our tax dollars towards helping more . Not doing the same old stuff that isn’t working

  6. Amber Darr

    January 5, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Applause!

  7. Sarah

    January 5, 2018 at 7:03 am

    So does the board or EDA have anything to say about the opioid crisis? As confident as you may be Doug on whom you all have appointed, the actions taken by this county to improve it is garbage! Front royal is a joke between the crappy hospital, terrible wages you all pay the teachers and ridiculous money spent on infrastructure projects….you all don’t want to inprove anything, and haven’t for a long time. And your STILL avoiding coming up or working with others to help our county. You sir, suck

  8. Nick Crettier

    January 5, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Well said Doug! Thank you for all your hard work in bettering our community.

  9. Local Resident and tax payer

    January 4, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Awesome!

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