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Town ups the ante in dispute with governor over COVID-19 guidelines

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Following a self-congratulatory opening interim town manager’s report, and Councilman Jacob Meza’s concurrence with Mr. Tederick’s assessment of what a fine job he, council and staff have done navigating the COVID-19 pandemic emergency management response, the Front Royal Town Council tackled a nine-item meeting agenda.

Sandwiching that agenda were two COVID-19 pandemic-related matters with perhaps long-term implications for the town. The first was a scheduled Public Hearing and vote on a Budget Amendment that would authorize the allocation of $1 million of General Fund reserves to a third-party non-profit organization for distribution “to eligible affected businesses and residents from the COVID-19 pandemic” – the second we’ll get to in two paragraphs.

We know you are tired of the computer screenshots too, so we delved into our Royal Examiner File Photos for a change of pace – Royal Cinema’s Rick Novak was one of three local business owners urging council to approve a local relief program on Monday. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

It was not clear from the virtual meeting online discussion whether the relief proposal was a pared-back version of the previously discussed $1.5 million proposal, $1 million dedicated to businesses, to first pay back town utility bills or taxes, and half a million dollars to citizen relief on back town utility bills.

And while the proposal garnered the only pre-submitted public comments, three for (Rick Novak, Craig Laird, and The Kiln Doctor proprietors), one against as a flawed and incomplete plan (Linda Allen), the outcome was somewhat anti-climactic. On a motion by Jacob Meza, seconded by Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock, council unanimously tabled a vote until the next meeting. Prior to the tabling, Councilwoman Lori Cockrell reiterated distinct public feedback she has received against the idea while the Town’s tax revenue and reserve fund pictures remain murky due to COVID-19 impacts.

On the back end of the COVID-19 related open meeting agenda was the approval of a Resolution requesting Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to allow the town government to determine when to reopen businesses within the town limits.

A lengthy proposed Resolution on that matter read into the meeting record by Clerk Tina Presley was abandoned when Meza offered an amended version. Responding to a question from Mayor Gene Tewalt on the necessity of reading a second, lengthy Resolution into the record, Meza, with the assistance of Town Attorney Doug Napier, explained there were substantive differences that bore becoming part of the meeting record.

Councilman Meza, center, often takes a leadership role as council considers various key decisions. Here, pictured between Letasha Thompson and Chris Holloway last September, Meza defends council against public criticism.

“Mr. Meza is correct, I think there is a significant difference, and a matter of emphasis in particular that there are some concerns of the Constitutionality of Governor Northam’s latest executive order,” Napier told the mayor, adding that he did not want to get into a Constitutional analysis of those questions.

After some jockeying as to who would relieve the council clerk of having to read a second, lengthy – three pages in the original – legalese-styled Resolution, that task went to the interim town manager, though after the reading Meza appeared apologetic for not taking on the task himself.

Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock seconded Meza’s offering of the alternate Resolution.

Significant Differences

As Tederick began Meza’s alternate Resolution reading, the “significant differences” cited by Napier were immediately apparent. The first Resolution’s opening line that the Front Royal Town Council was “Requesting Governor Northam To Allow Town Council to Determine When to Open Up Local Businesses” was changed to the Front Royal Town Council “asserting its competence to determine when to open up local businesses”.

The two following paragraphs in the original citing geographical differences between the town and Warren County compared to more heavily hit metro areas as a basis for what initially was a request to the governor were deleted.

Two following paragraphs in the original citing a March 16 action by President Trump urging “people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people” and a March 17 Declaration by Governor Northam and the Virginia State Health Commissioner following the president’s lead of the previous day, as well as urging “all Virginians aged 65 and over to self-quarantine” was also deleted.

Added was a graph noting that, “The Virginia Circuit Court for the City of Lynchburg has declared Executive Order (no number cited in Resolution) un-Constitutional, as it relates to the operations of an indoor gun range in the case of Lynchburg Range and Training versus Northam,” followed by observing that the U.S. Department of Justice of Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr had joined the Lynchburg lawsuit “on behalf of a small church in Chincoteague” arguing that restrictions on church gatherings violate the U.S. Constitution “stating in part, quote, ‘There is no pandemic exception for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,’ end quote,” Tederick read.

The Resolution adds that “the Town of Front Royal doubts the constitutionality of Governor Northam’s Executive Orders 53 and 55, and finds them irreconcilable with the freedoms of assembly, religion, and other rights enshrined in the Constitutions of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America”.

A graphic from a March 30 virtual council work session presentation regarding health insurance packages – could we all need expanded health care coverage if council missteps on its ‘assertion’ of authority to self-govern related to COVID-19 pandemic responses?

So the change in tone and direction from the originally proposed Resolution was, as noted by the town attorney, “significant”, changing the focus from citing geographical and demographic differences from severely health-impacted Virginia urban and metro areas and the six-jurisdiction Lord Fairfax Health District in which Front Royal and Warren County lie, as justification for a request; to an “assertion” of the Town’s authority to self-govern in what it now views as a Constitutional struggle over First Amendment rights, most particularly it would seem, freedom of religious assembly without health-guided regulations; and the right to target shoot within a confined area you pay for the privilege of doing.

Stabilized and Consistent

Valley Health employee Meza’s alternate Resolution then offered a series of local COVID-19 statistics to justify the town council’s “competence to determine when to open up local businesses” as opposed to the governor and state health department officials.

“Whereas according to the latest available numbers from the Lord Fairfax Health District of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county of which the town is part, there are few hospitalizations and one death. And furthermore, these numbers of hospitalizations appear to have been stabilized and have remained consistent for some time now,” Tederick read.

The one death is correct, having as noted in a previous Royal Examiner story been recorded within the past week, about two months after pandemic restrictions were put in place in Virginia. Also as we reported yesterday in our story about the “Great American Tailgate” Mother’s Day gathering in Front Royal, over the week between May 3 and May 10, Warren County’s cases rose about 40% (61 to 85); hospitalizations were up 200% (3 to 9), and our first COVID-19 death after two months of record-keeping was recorded, without distinction as to whether it was in or out of town.

Above, the Valley Health COVID-19 testing tent at its original N. Commerce Ave. location. It has since moved closer to the building and has seen a recent 40% rise in positive tests as the county total has risen to 85, as of yesterday, May 11. Below, the nasty little viral bug they are looking for.

While these numbers remain significantly lower than more hard-hit metropolitan areas, are they “stabilized” and “consistent”? Several questions bear asking as we pivot governmentally:

1 – If Front Royal re-opens will it be with state-ordered precautionary guidelines in place?

2 – Will social distancing standards be mandated by the Town or voluntary?

3 – Will we limit small business clientele to locals from our less affected health district, or will we attract visitors from our east (Fauquier, Prince William, and Loudoun Counties alone, a combined 4,336 cases, 87 deaths and 415 hospitalizations) and south (Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County, a combined 943 cases, 23 deaths, and 58 hospitalizations)? These are heavily hit areas likely to remain under tighter local restrictions with citizens also looking for a break from their pandemic-restricted reality.

And remember, all of the above statistics are accumulated within the limited testing availability that remains an issue across America.

Roll the dice

But recent history tells us we have a town council that likes to gamble.

Against the advice of a former town manager, town finance director, not to mention the administrator of the New Market Tax Credit program, also following Mr. Meza’s urging they gambled on a 30-year, 1.5% NMTC interest rate on construction of the new Front Royal Police Headquarters that the project didn’t even qualify for. Now they have chosen to gamble taxpayer dollars on attorneys, according to the Damiani & Damiani website prominently known for their auto accident casework, to convince a jury that the FRPD interest-rate gamble built on a verbal promise from the former EDA executive director wasn’t their fault.

Above, former Town Manager Joe Waltz; below, council and Interim Mayor Tederick at the September 23, 2019 work session. Just over two weeks after that work session Waltz submitted his resignation Oct. 9, effective Nov. 8.

Now it appears our elected town leaders have chosen to gamble that COVID-19 is a First Amendment political issue, rather than a pandemic health crisis issue. And even if admitted it is, at least partially a health crisis, perhaps one mismanaged in part by a state executive bureaucracy treading an unfamiliar medical landscape, should we here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley worry, or are we immune to predicted second or third waves of the virus’s spread?

Yes, we need to find ways to prop up our struggling local business community and citizenry and move toward re-openings and re-hirings as Rick Novak, Craig Laird and The Kiln Doctor owners urged council by submitted emails Monday. But shouldn’t that movement  come carefully, assuring both that those who need the support get it, rather than some who might simply try to profiteer off a crisis, as Linda Allen observed in her submitted criticism of the draft Town Recovery Plan; and that we do not jeopardize our own or the health of others as we try to get back to a more normal and financially solvent way of life?

And will the Town move forward based on accumulated medical data or a politically-driven stance focused on perhaps inconsistently or over-cautiously applied social distancing guidelines, particularly as they apply to religious and business activities?

Meza’s motion, seconded by the vice mayor, to approve the alternate Resolution questioning the Constitutionality of the governor’s Executive Orders 53 and 55, as read into the record was approved by a unanimous roll call vote.

See this discussion and council’s other business in the linked virtual recording. Also, see below the entire original and alternate Resolution drafts; and more on council’s other business in coming Royal Examiner stories:


This originally-drafted Resolution was NOT approved. The approved, Meza-presented alternate Resolution follows below this one. (Publisher’s Note: Misspelled words or grammatical errors were not added by the Royal Examiner, these Resolutions were taken verbatim from Town-provided documents.)

RESOLUTION
Of the Town Council of the Town of Front Royal, Virginia Requesting Governor Northam To Allow Town Council to Determine When to Open Up Local Businesses

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia is a diverse State composed of many local jurisdictions which vary in size from large, densely populated metropolitan areas, to small towns and
villages, to rural, sparsely populated rural areas.

WHEREAS, the Town of Front Royal (the Town) and its surrounding jurisdiction, the County of Warren (the County), are both smaller, more rural, less densely populated parts of the
Commonwealth than many of the other parts of Virginia; and

WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the continued spread of COVID-19, and declared
the anticipated effects of COVID-19 to be a disaster as described in Section 44-146.16 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended; and

WHEREAS, on March 15, 2020, Governor Northam announced a ban on all gatherings of one hundred (100) or more people statewide; and

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Donald Trump urged people to avoid gathering in groups of more than ten (10) people; and

WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, Governor Northam and the State Health Commissioner issued a Declaration of Public Health Emergency addressing the need to increase social distancing to inhibit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and the Governor, by press release, urged all Virginians to follow the federal guidance limiting non-essential gatherings of more than ten (10) people and urging all Virginians aged 65 and older to self-quarantine; and

WHEREAS, in response to the Governor Northam’s Orders and the Declarations so mentioned, Town Council of the Town of Front Royal (Town Council) was satisfied shortly thereafter in March, 2020, that the public health threat posed by COVID-19 constituted a real and substantial threat to health and safety of persons and property in the Town, and that a declaration of local emergency was necessary and essential to the Town.

WHEREAS, according to the latest available numbers from the Lord Fairfax Health District of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the County, of which the Town is a part, there are but four hospitalizations and no deaths (no figures are available for the Town itself, but the Town has a population of approximately 15,240, while the County as a whole has a population of approximately 40,164). These numbers of hospitalization appear to have stabilized and have remained consistent for some time now; and

WHEREAS, there is located in the Town an excellent hospital, Warren Memorial Hospital, a member of the Valley Health system of hospitals and other top-of-the-line health care facilities and health care professionals serving the northern Shenandoah Valley, including the County, as well as parts of West Virginia; and

WHEREAS, as the Town Council’s declaration of local emergency in March, 2020, shortly after Governor Northam’s and the State Health Commissioner’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency were issued, Town Council has taken the COVID-19 outbreak seriously, and has reacted seriously to it ever since, urging social distancing, urging citizens to stay and work from home whenever and wherever possible (including its own Town staff); and

WHEREAS, most commercial businesses within the corporate limits of the Town are small ones, independently owned and operated, not franchises or affiliated with large national or international chains. Most of these business are owned and operated by people who do not have large financial resources and do not have the resources to stay closed indefinitely. Many, if not most, of these businesses are of the type which depend on being physically open to customers in order to survive; and

WHEREAS, these businesses have done everything in their power to comply with all Orders, Declarations, and recommendations so mentioned, whether or not they have the force of law, simply because the owners and operators are good citizens; however, many, if not most, are facing permanent closure if they are not able to open very quickly for some sort of business. Permanent closure for the owners and operators of these small businesses would mean financial ruin for them and their families; and

WHEREAS, the Town in 1989 lost its biggest employer, Avtex, which employed thousands of workers, causing the local unemployment rate to rise to very high levels, which in turn devasted the local business economy in Town. The physical site on which Avtex was located was highly polluted, and after it was cleaned up, it was designated a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has left the Town will a certain lasting economic stigma. It has taken the Town many years to rebuild its local economy, which has still not been fully accomplished: in fact, beginning in 2017, Town Council approved and embarked upon a Downtown Revitalization Plan, a part of which was applying for and being granted a Community Development Block Grant by the Virginia Department of Community Development, which was just started which the COVID-19 outbreak began; and

WHEREAS, just as the Town seemed to be turning the corner on its economic business future, the local Economic Development Authority, of which Town Council and Town staff is not a part, has become embroiled in legal and financial scandal, further jeopardizing the Town’s economic future. This scandal is still on-going and is the subject of multiple lawsuits and criminal investigations; and

WHEREAS, Town Council is comprised of local men and women who take their Town, their larger community, their Commonwealth, and the health and welfare, physical, mental, and economic, of the Town’s residents and citizens, seriously, and the Town Council members are quite able to assess local conditions carefully and in the best interests of their citizenry, as demonstrated by Town Council’s declaration of a local emergency almost as soon as Governor Northam and State Health Commissioner issued a State-wide Declaration of Public Health Emergency.

Likewise the citizens and residents of the Town have demonstrated remarkably good judgment and concern for their fellow citizens and resident by following said declarations to a “T”; and

WHEREAS, Town Council is of the opinion that State-wide public health pronouncements concerning COVID-19 as to what might be important and appropriate to large, more urban areas where large outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred, and where the local economies might be more robust, are less appropriate and meaningful as they are to a small, more rural, less economic robust jurisdiction such as the Town; and

WHEREAS, Town Council is further of the opinion that in this day and age, with wall-to-wall news coverage on smart phones, computers, televisions, and radios, and based on the citizens and residents of the Town having conducted themselves in an exemplary and responsible fashion to the declarations with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak to date, the citizens and residents of the Town will continue to use discretion and good judgment going forward if restrictions are relaxed and local businesses in Town are allowed by Governor Northam and Town Council to reopen on a local basis; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Town Council of the Town of Front Royal that the Town Council respectfully requests the Honorable Ralph Northam, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a limited exemption from Executive Order Numbers Fifty-One, Fifty-Three, and Fifty-Five, and further Executive Orders and Declarations of the Commonwealth as they may relate to COVID-19 closing of businesses, social distancing, and social gatherings, only to the extent as they may relate to commercial businesses and enterprises within the corporate limits within the Town of Front Royal, so as to allow Town Council to determine when and how local business in the Town limits can safely reopen; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Town Council that if this Resolution is looked upon favorably by Governor Northam and Governor Northam grants said request, and if the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths in Warren County trend significantly upward while this limited exemption is in place, that Town Council will of its own accord take such action to restrict Town business activity as appropriate under the circumstances, and if necessary, request Governor Northam to impose such lawful actions to secure the public health as appropriate under the circumstances; and

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Manger and Town Attorney are hereby directed to take all lawful, necessary, and appropriate actions to effectuate this Resolution.

Now the second Resolution that was adopted:

This Resolution was approved at the Regular Meeting of the Town of Front Royal, Virginia, Town Council conducted on May 11, 2020.

RESOLUTION
Of the Town Council of the Town of Front Royal, Virginia Asserting its Competence to Determine When to Open Up Local Businesses

WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the continued spread of COVID-19, and

WHEREAS,
on March 15, 2020, Governor Northam announced a ban on all gatherings of one hundred (100) or more people statewide; and

WHEREAS,
on March 23, 2020, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 53, banning public and private gatherings of more than ten people, shutting down certain business and other entities, deeming some functions “essential” and excluding others, including religious worship; and .

WHEREAS,
on March 30, 2020, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 55, banning Virginia residents from leaving their house except for certain authorized purposes; and

WHEREAS,
the Virginia Circuit Court for the City of Lynchburg has declared Executive Order unconstitutional as it relates to the operations of an indoor gun range in the case of Lynchburg Range and Training v. Northam; and

WHEREAS,
the U.S. Department of Justice has joined a lawsuit in behalf of a small church in Chincoteague, Virginia, who is suing Governor Northam, arguing that the application of his Orders against the church violate the U.S. Constitution, stating in part, “there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights;” and

WHEREAS, other establishments throughout the Commonwealth, including gyms, have
sued Governor Northam alleging that he has exceeded his authority under both the State and Federal Constitutions; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Front Royal doubts the constitutionality of Governor Northam’s Executive Orders 53 and 55, and finds them irreconcilable with the freedoms of assembly, religion, and other rights enshrined in the Constitutions of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, according to the latest available numbers from the Lord Fairfax Health District of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the County, of which the Town is a part, there are few hospitalizations and one death, and furthermore these numbers of hospitalization appear to have stabilized and have remained consistent for some time now; and

WHEREAS,
there is located in the Town an excellent hospital, Warren Memorial Hospital, a member of the Valley Health system of hospitals and other top-of-the-line health care facilities and health care professionals serving the northern Shenandoah Valley, including the County, as well as parts of West Virginia; and

WHEREAS,
Town Council continues to take the COVID-19 outbreak seriously, and has reacted seriously to it since March, urging social distancing, urging citizens to stay and work from home whenever and wherever possible (including its own Town staff); and

WHEREAS,
most commercial businesses within the corporate limits of the Town are small ones, independently owned and operated. Most of these business do not have the resources to stay closed indefinitely. Many, if not most, of these businesses must remain physically open to customers in order to survive; and

WHEREAS,
these businesses have done everything in their power to comply with all Orders, Declarations, and recommendations so mentioned, whether or not they have the force of law, simply because the owners and operators are good citizens; however, many, if not most, are facing permanent closure if they are not able to open very quickly for some sort of business. Permanent closure for the owners and operators of these small businesses could mean financial ruin for them and their families; and

WHEREAS,
beginning in 2017, Town Council approved and embarked upon a Downtown Revitalization Plan, a part of which was applying for and being granted a Community Development Block Grant by the Virginia Department of Community Development, which had just commenced when the COVID-19 outbreak began; and

WHEREAS,
Town government is comprised of local men and women who take their Town, their larger community, their Commonwealth, and the health and welfare, physical, mental, and economic, of the Town’s residents and citizens seriously, and the Town government is able, and is better situated, to assess local conditions carefully and in the best interests of their citizenry.

Likewise the citizens and residents of the Town have demonstrated remarkably good judgment and concern for their fellow citizens and residents by faithfully following said guidelines and orders; and

WHEREAS,
Town Council is of the opinion that a single statewide approach is inappropriate for Virginia, which contains rural localities like Front Royal that remain largely unaffected by the COVID outbreak; and

WHEREAS,
Town Council is further of the opinion that the citizens and residents of the Town will continue to use discretion and good judgment going forward; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
by the Town Council of the Town of Front Royal that the Town Council respectfully requests the Honorable Ralph Northam, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a limited exemption from Executive Order Numbers Fifty-One, Fifty-Three, and Fifty-Five, and further Executive Orders and Declarations of the Commonwealth as they may relate to COVID-19 closing of businesses, social distancing, and social gatherings, only to the extent as they may relate to commercial businesses and enterprises within the corporate limits within the Town of Front Royal, so as to allow Town Council to determine when and how local business in the Town limits can safely reopen; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
by the Town Council that if this Resolution is looked upon favorably by Governor Northam and Governor Northam grants said request, and if the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths in Warren County trend significantly upward while this limited exemption is in place, that Town Council will of its own accord take such action to restrict Town business activity as appropriate under the circumstances, and if necessary, request Governor Northam to impose such lawful actions to secure the public health as appropriate under the circumstances; and

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Manger and Town Attorney are hereby directed to take all lawful, necessary, and appropriate actions to effectuate this Resolution.

ADOPTED this 11th day of May, 2020,

*************************************************************************************

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How’d graduation go? Decreasing COVID deaths? And removal petition expense draw supervisors attention

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Board comments and questions revolving around a variety of financial issues were heard at the August 4th Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting, as was one apology concerning a previous complaint about pandemic-altered high school graduation plans.

“When I’m wrong I’ll admit I was wrong – and I was wrong on graduation,” North River Supervisor Delores Oates said during her member’s report after attending the Skyline High School graduation the morning of Saturday, August 1st, one day after Warren County High’s somewhat wetter one.

Oates said the football stadium parking lot-centered event utilizing the new Hawk tunnel and allowing family members to accompany their graduates for photographs was a rousing success and would likely lead to some permanent changes in the future, post-pandemic graduations – changes she called in some ways an improvement over traditional graduation ceremonies.

Delores Oates gave a shout out to Warren County Public Schools for their pandemic-altered graduation plan – ‘I was wrong’ she said of earlier complaints about a plan she was pleasantly surprised by. Royal Examiner Photos and Video/Mark Williams

“I have a senior. And I was disappointed that we were going to do drive-in graduation. I had no idea, however, of what they had planned to accommodate our family so that we could get up-close and personal graduation with our senior,” Oates began, adding, “In fact, it was better than conventional graduation. And I have to take my hat off to everybody involved with the planning and execution of the graduation.”

She then observed, “The irony of COVID is that through social distancing, we were able to get closer to our graduate. And, so I agree with Ms. Cullers that graduation likely will change because parents enjoy close-up and personal graduation. So, I would like to thank the school system for what they did to make it a memorable day.”

GO Public School Administrators – let’s give them a run through that Hawk tunnel too.

Have they risen?

Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter then began with a question revolving around another COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-2019) impact on the community, an apparent statistical anomaly indicating a reduction in the reported number of COVID-19 deaths in Warren County.

“One of the questions I’ve seen – why have the numbers kind of gone down? I think at one point there were 8 deaths, then it was 7 and now it’s 6,” Carter noted of a decrease in fatality numbers.

And while Carter directed his question at Deputy County Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Farrall, present for a number of COVID-19 related agenda item reports, Board Chairman and
County Pandemic Emergency Response Team Chair Walt Mabe stepped in.

Board and Pandemic Emergency Management Team Chair Walt Mabe explained the county’s decreasing COVID-19 death totals. – No, it is not a supernatural phenomenon, just a point-of-residence statistical adjustment.

“I can do that,” Mabe said of shedding light on the reverse trend in fatalities. “When we have a death that’s actually reported, that death is reported in Warren County. After a period of time, we come to find out that, that person that died is really from Shenandoah County or from Page County or wherever. And when that’s found out, we adjust the numbers – ours goes down, theirs go up.
And it could work the opposite way,” Mabe explained of the nation’s nearly 160,000 pandemic deaths being tabulated by the home community, not the place where the pandemic victim died.

Queried by Mabe, Farrall concurred with this explanation.

We are still seated – at what cost?

Carter then segued into another item of personal and political interest to him, the June 23rd court order of dismissal of all portions of the grassroots citizen county board Removal Petition spearheaded by Bonnie Gabbert and others against the supervisors seated through 2019. Carter and Fork District incumbent Archie Fox, whose seats were not up for re-election in 2019, are the only two targeted supervisors over the EDA financial scandal still seated after the 2019 election.

Two of the targeted supervisors, former Chairman Dan Murray and South River’s Linda Glavis did not run for reelection in 2019, and a third, Shenandoah District’s Tom Sayre was defeated by new Chairman Walt Mabe.

During his member report Tuesday morning, Carter queried Interim County Attorney Jason Ham on the case status and total costs to the County and its taxpayers of defending board members against that recall petition. That cost was $48,500, Ham replied.

And as he explained in a June 24th letter informing the current and past board members of the court action of the previous day, Ham noted that the portion of the suit against the no-longer seated members had been “dismissed with prejudice” meaning it could not be re-filed. And while the “Order of non-suit” and “Dismissal without Prejudice” against Carter and Fox would allow it to be re-filed in six months, Ham wrote that from the conversation with Harrisonburg Special Prosecutor Michael Parker, “I don’t think that is very likely.”

Carter noted that such a removal petition based around what is thus far considered unintentional lapses of oversight allowing alleged criminal behavior of others has rarely if ever been upheld in Virginia. The courts have indicated a preference to let such non-criminal legislative matters be resolved by impacted citizens at the ballot box, rather in another governmental branch’s courtroom.

Supervisor Carter noted that he and colleague Archie Fox are no longer under the gun of a citizen Recall Petition, though at some cost to the county’s taxpayers.

Somewhat playfully perhaps, Carter wondered if a bill for the County Recall Petition legal defense expenses could be added up to be divided among the citizens who signed it seeking a judicial removal of local legislators for non-criminal behavior.

“And I assume there’s not a way … that the people who signed the petition, to send them a bill for 50 dollars each?” Carter asked.

Ham’s answer appeared to be that such a plan was not currently under consideration by him or his co-counsel on the matter.

“Anyway, I just thought I’d pass that information on,” Carter said in concluding that little legal-budgetary foray and notice of ALL those targeted by the Recall Petition’s survival of it.

View the Board of Supervisor meeting of August 4, 2020, in this related story.

Rockland area residents seek shooting ban for their neighborhood

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Rockland area residents seek shooting ban for their neighborhood

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Other than the Confederate soldier statue debate, the other primary topic during the opening public comments portion of Tuesday morning, August 4th, Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting was a proposed ban on recreational shooting in the Clearback subdivision off Rockland Road near the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. The matter had been scheduled for a work session following the meeting and a closed session.

However, Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter suggested adding advertisement for a public hearing on the matter to the meeting’s Consent Agenda to speed up movement on the issue. His motion to add the matter to the meeting agenda was unanimously approved. Consequently, four people urged the supervisors to approve the recreational shooting prohibition for their neighborhood. They, along with others they presented supporting signatures of, called what they are experiencing, not only a public nuisance but also a reckless and potentially dangerous one.

Speaking on the matter were James Harper, Jean Isner, Robert Aylor, and Bruce Benzie. While not present due to family health concerns, our contributing writer Malcolm Barr Sr. sent an email in support of the requested ban to the board through Board Clerk Emily Ciarrocchi.

With no parameters on public speaking time, the Board of Supervisors got an earful on two issues added to their August 4th agenda at the meeting’s outset. Thirteen of 14 speakers addressed either a requested shooting prohibition in Rockland (4) and the Confederate soldier monument relocation issue (9). With 14th speaker, Gary Kushner’s critique of COVID-19 CARES Act funding parameters and advice that the supervisors “not look to the Town for guidance on how to govern” the meeting’s opening public comments period lasted 80 minutes. Royal Examiner Photo/Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner Video/Mark Williams

“I compliment and support Mr. James Harper in his efforts to obtain relief from a long-standing irritant that has been thrust upon residents of the Rockland Historic Area of the county for several years – that of irresponsible target shooting on at least two properties on Rockland Road, one of them specifically affecting residents of the Clearback subdivision, the other detrimental to the operators and users of Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. I secured, as a matter of record, the signature of Richard Runyon, owner, and operator of the SVGC who joined most Clearback Subdivision residents in seeking relief from the incessant noise and possible danger that is imposed on us. Almost daily, the sound of rifle fire beginning as early as 10 a.m. can continue up to 90 minutes to 2 hours, then begin again in the late afternoon,” Barr wrote the board.

Harper opened the Public Comments telling the supervisors, “Several weeks ago on a Saturday we all heard automatic gunfire for over 5-1/2 hours. This was non-stop gunfire,” Harper said of one obtrusive example of what has become a regular situation for area residents.

“Years ago this was farmland, now it’s a neighborhood. Is it fair for two houses to disrupt the neighborhood?” Harper asked the board before presenting a list of signatures in support of the shooting ban for the subdivision area, including from former supervisor Ben Weddle, former town councilman Kermit Nichols, and as Barr noted in his email, SVGC principal Richard Runyon. Harper told a story told him by Runyon when Harper first arrived in the area to introduce him to the shooting issue.

“He told me they were hosting a wedding, and they went across the street to ask them to stop shooting while the wedding was going on because it was an outdoor wedding. And they said ‘No’ and kept on shooting. That’s what we’re dealing with,” Harper told the supervisors.

“I ask you to put yourselves in our shoes during this discussion,” Aylor added, “The pop-pop-pop-pop-pop is loud, it’s annoying and it’s disrespectful … Some of us have pets and it’s annoying to them as well.”

Of one neighbor’s nearby pasture land, Benzie said, “Her cattle go absolutely ballistic when they hear that weapons fire. It’s just amazing.”

Of the potential of danger to neighboring properties, Benzie referenced a report he had heard about a “six-year-old child” being wounded under similar shooting circumstances in Middletown over the past weekend.

During his opening remarks, Harper said inquiries to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office indicated there was nothing law enforcement could do until a County code change added the neighborhood to those where such shooting is prohibited as a public nuisance and danger in a residential area.

That puts the ball in the Supervisors’ court just as both the County and Town have been approached about passing resolutions not to join the state government in imposing restrictions on firearms being carried into government offices, properties, and meetings. Maybe the cited Rockland offenders will bring their “automatic” or semi-automatic weapons to the coming public hearing to illustrate why their use shouldn’t be restricted.

The Royal Examiner video of the August 4, 2020 meeting is in two parts:


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Local Government

No middle ground apparent in Confederate statue debate

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An unexpected debate over the fate of the Confederate Soldier Monument on the Warren County Courthouse lawn erupted at Tuesday morning’s County Board of Supervisors meeting.
In fact, after an agenda addition was proposed by Tony Carter to add authorization for Interim County Attorney Jason Ham to submit a request to the court that a public referendum on the 109-year-old statue’s fate be added to the November county ballot, nine of 14 speakers at the first public comments period addressed the issue. The split was a tight 5-4 in favor of keeping the statue at its public site, rather than remove it as a lingering sign of racism and the slavery issue at the root of the American Civil War.

Those five speaking for keeping the statue dedicated to the memory of Warren County’s 600 Confederate soldiers, both known and unknown, who fought in the war all argued that the statue was not a glorification of slavery and continued racism in America, but rather a tribute to non-slave-owning soldiers – other than five of those 600 – most likely drafted into service who may have viewed the war from a different perspective than many of those of us in the 21st century might assume.

Above, FR Unites’ Samuel Porter insisted he is not out to divide the community. Below, one of the county’s first integrated black students, Gene Kilby, said from his perspective the statue does remind people of color of slavery and racism. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner Video/Mark Williams

The four speaking for removal included two principals from Front Royal Unites, Samuel Porter and Stevi Hubbard, as well as Gene Kilby, James Kilby Sr.’s youngest son and one of the county’s first integrated public school students of color, and Episcopal Reverend Valerie Hayes. From their varying perspectives, all four countered that for the county’s black citizens the statue does echo of slavery and racism.

Speaking for maintaining the statue under some compromise solution that does not glorify slavery or racism included several members of a family tied to Front Royal’s Chester Street Warren Rifles Confederate Museum, including Suzanne Wood Silek, her nephew and museum curator Gary Duane Vaughan, cousin and local attorney David Silek. Others speaking for keeping the statue where it is were Richard Bruce Colton and Richard Hoover.

Above, Suzanne Wood Silek; below her nephew Gary Duane Vaughan – both with family ties to the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum. They and others on the non-relocation side insisted the statue dedicated to the county’s common soldier does not stand in glorification of slavery or racism, but of service and sacrifice.

Several of the speakers on the removal side of the debate who had arrived late after being notified of the agenda item addition, complained of the unannounced late addition they said prevented more speakers from their side from coming to voice their opinions.

However, Carter noted that the board’s hand was forced by the discovery that there was an August 14 deadline on submission to the court of a County petition to add a referendum on the statue issue to the November ballot. Carter pointed out the next scheduled board meeting was August 19. Cheryl Cullers made the motion to add the item to the Consent Agenda, Delores Oates seconded the motion which then received the necessary unanimous vote of approval to become a late agenda addition.

An updated story with more detail on the debate will be forthcoming. But for now, watch those speakers listed above present their conflicting viewpoints in what ended up stretching the prescribed 40-minute public comments period to 80 minutes Tuesday morning in this Royal Examiner video:

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Local Government

Council seeks clarification on guns into town offices & meetings request

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The march of 2nd Amendment advocates recruiting local municipal governments to become “sanctuaries” against State laws passed by the Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly continues. At the Monday, August 3, Front Royal Town Council work session a new resolution seeking local immunity from a new state law allowing municipalities to join the Commonwealth in banning the carrying of weapons into government buildings, meeting rooms and other properties was brought to council by staff.

The request for passage of the newest 2nd Amendment sanctuary rebellion against the current Democratic-controlled state government’s gun-control legislation was brought to council by Paul Aldridge, who was not present Monday, in mid-July. Both the Town and County approved “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” resolutions brought before them late last year, joining a number of conservative municipalities resolving not to enforce proposed gun control laws before the General Assembly.

Over a thousand people packed the WCHS auditorium in December 2019 in support of an earlier 2nd Amendment Sanctuary initiative. That one before the county supervisors was passed by a 5-0 vote. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner Video/Mark Williams

As to the newest proposed resolution, it references VA Code Section 15.2-915(E). That newly passed state code states “…a locality may adopt an ordinance that prohibits the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof…” in government buildings and open spaces or spaces utilized for permitted community events or other municipal or recreational activities.

The code, as with others approved this year regarding background checks and red flag laws, appears to be a Democratic initiative to head off the type of mass shooting violence that has become uncomfortably common in the U.S. in recent decades. However, certain 2nd Amendment “purists”, for lack of a better term, in Virginia and other politically conservative states and regions have taken such gun control legislation as an assault on their 2nd Amendment right to, not only own a firearm but “bear it” in any public context in which they see fit.

Monday night’s discussion indicated some confusion as to what was being asked as it applied, not only to existing town codes regarding citizens being given carte blanche to come armed into Town Hall and any town council or other board or commission meeting or visit to any town official or departmental office. In the end, council asked for more detail on the impacts of approval of the resolution to continue the discussion at a coming work session. But what a discussion it was to get to that “stay tuned for our next exciting episode” on this crucial request pitting some people’s perception of their 2nd Amendment right “to bear Arms” versus other people’s perception of their “inalienable right” of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” without being randomly gunned down by an armed citizen having a bad day.

Town Attorney Doug Napier explained that the above-referenced state code allowed municipalities “including the town” to set their own guidelines on firearms in public places, a power they did not previously have in this Dillon Rule state where no jurisdiction can pass laws that goes beyond what state law has set forth.

Town Attorney Doug Napier, far left, outlined security issues for town staff were council to approve a new 2nd Amendment resolution before it and responded to questions on potential impacts on the Town Employee Handbook.

“Now localities, including the town, are allowed to allow firearms, they are allowed not to allow firearms. Obviously, this is something that is political and a policy issue, as opposed to a legal issue,” Napier told council, pointing to matters of concern on a decision on the requested resolution.

As the town attorney pointed out in the subsequent discussion, by passing the resolution the town’s elected officials would commit themselves legally to “not exercise any authority granted to it by § 15.2-915(E) of the Code of Virginia to regulate or prohibit the otherwise legal purchase, possession, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.

“If this is passed in its entirety, would you feel comfortable to allow the public to bring firearms into Town Hall? We have ladies in the finance department downstairs dealing with members of the public who have had their utilities cut off. Sometimes people feel a little agitated with that,” Napier observed.

He also noted that while council at meetings and work sessions has a security presence of town police, as illustrated Monday night by an armed FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis – whom later acknowledged he had not yet been consulted on the requested resolution – but that other boards and commissions do not normally have that same armed Town security presence in meetings the town attorney described as occasionally volatile with zoning, building-permitting, and business operations at issue.

“Would you feel comfortable in that situation,” Napier asked council of allowing armed involved citizens making their cases toward a sometimes unhappy town appointed, or elected, board resolution of their request?

FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis at the head of a row of town staff listening to Monday’s council discussion on the approval of a requested resolution allowing the unlimited bearing of arms in Town buildings and properties. The chief, present as security, said he had not yet been consulted on the requested resolution.

As to the potential of barring firearms from public park areas where alcohol consumption might be prohibited, other than special festival events and which it could on occasion have been consumed illegally, the town attorney also pointed to the potentially volatile mix of alcohol and firearms.

Napier then noted that the Town Employee Handbook prohibits employees from being armed on the job, other of course than police officers. How would the requested resolution impact that employee prohibition, Napier asked.

“And then the issue is, do you want employees to carry firearms?” Napier told council, wondering if council would try to allow it for some, but not others – “So, these are some of the issues to consider.”

OK – Everyone but employees?

“Does this resolution affect our employee handbook directly?” Councilman Jacob Meza asked. Napier’s response was “not directly” to which Meza observed, “But we wouldn’t have to address that unless we wanted to consider letting our employees having handguns to defend themselves against crazy people coming in and try to shoot up the place. That doesn’t have a bearing on the resolution,” Meza reasoned.

“Not directly,” the town attorney replied, stumbling to find the proper wording to describe the indirect bearing it might have, which essentially was approving the resolution would contradict the employee handbook’s prohibition on employees, who are also citizens, carrying firearms to work, potentially now as a means of self-defense against armed citizens unhappy with some town action or issue.

“So, everybody but employees could carry firearms,” Napier said of the impact of approving the resolution under current town employee handbook guidelines.

The town attorney, above, and Councilman Meza, below, discussed potential impacts on the Town Employee Handbook’s prohibition on non-police town staff carrying firearms on the job.

As discussion progressed into the different treatment employees faced from all other citizens and visitors to the town due to the handbook prohibition, Meza said, “I have no desire to change our handbook employee policy for this …” He added he would defer to the interim town manager, if he wanted to do a poll to establish whether the employee handbook needed to be altered as a consequence of approval of the requested resolution.

Councilwoman Lori Cockrell observed that council’s meeting were at the County-owned government center, so council likely did not have the authority to authorize the carrying of weapons, at least into Town meetings at the Warren County Government Center. A similar resolution request is also apparently before the County at this time.

No guns in Town Hall, no tourists?

The resolution presented to the Front Royal Town Council Monday evening actually referenced passage of any local firearms prohibitions into government facilities and properties as having a potential negative affect on tourism.

“… and WHEREAS, certain legislation has been passed in the Virginia General Assembly that allows localities to, by ordinance, ban otherwise lawfully possessed and transported firearms from certain public spaces, causing law-abiding citizens to be exposed to a patchwork of local ordinances as they travel throughout the Commonwealth,
“and WHEREAS, the Front Royal Town Council acknowledges the significant economic contribution made to our community by tourists and visitors and does not wish to discourage travel to Front Royal,

But should ‘Super Heroes’ be allowed to carry firearms on town shopping sprees? Spiderman’s wouldn’t be concealed it appears, so no permitting necessary.

“and WHEREAS, Front Royal wishes to welcome all law-abiding citizens who wish to live in, visit, or otherwise participate in the economy of our community, including those citizens and visitors who choose to legally carry a firearm for personal protection, and …” the resolution continues toward the requested Town “resolution/reservation of its right” to make all citizens and employees at its facilities and recreational properties less exposed to the potential of random or directed gun violence.

See this nearly 15-minute discussion about 15 minutes into the work session, as well as other council business, including updates on the town building mural art project; applications for the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief funding – 25 of 50 business applications for relief approved and $225,000 of $1.2 million in relief funding approved to those 25 qualifying applicants; South Street Capital Improvement plans; and a potential change to town vending-peddling regulations allowing for competition in the ice cream truck sale of frozen treats town-wide in this Royal Examiner video. Currently only former Mayor Hollis Tharpe is “grandfathered” in to sell frozen treats town-wide. C&C Frozen Treats owner William Huck would like to change that existing one-truck monopoly, staff indicated.

Back from a slight ‘vacation’ fall off the wall, Hollis Tharpe, second from right bottom, was back on Town Hall’s mayor’s row Monday night. But could his town-wide ice cream truck monopoly be about to end?

Oh, and Mr. Tharpe’s mayoral portrait was back in its place on the 2nd floor Town Hall meeting room wall Monday night.

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Local Government

Town of Front Royal is providing financial assistance to small businesses

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The Town of Front Royal, administered by the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, will begin taking grant applications from Town businesses for financial assistance. The intent of the forgivable grant program is to provide immediate relief to Town small businesses that can demonstrate economic hardship from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant funds shall be used to pay outstanding Town of Front Royal utility bills in order to continue to receive essential services, the remaining grant funds may be used to pay for other expenses associated with a business interruption.

Businesses may receive grant funding between $2,500 and $20,000 depending on their 2019 gross receipts. The Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce will work in conjunction with the Town of Front Royal Finance Department and the Front Royal CARES Committee to administer the grant.

“The Town Council has been anxious to help local businesses and was prepared in April to use Town reserve funds. Fortunately, the Town has received over one million dollars in CARES Act funds to help our local small businesses and boost our economy. I would personally like to thank the Town Council, the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and the Front Royal CARES Committee for all their hard work getting us to this point. I am looking forward to checks being cut in a few weeks.” said Matthew Tederick, Interim Town Manager.

Niki Foster, President of the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce said, “The Chamber’s Vision statement is, ‘To be recognized as the leading resource for business in Front Royal-Warren County.’ That is why we are so honored to be able to not only help the Town of Front Royal administer the financial assistance grant program, but as importantly, help our local small businesses who are the backbone of our community.”

Town of Front Royal businesses interested in applying for the business recovery grants can do so now at www.FrontRoyalVA.com/CARES

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Mayor, council erupt over politicized interim town manager’s report

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After being taken to the “brink” a week earlier during the County Supervisors’ 4-1/2 hour exploration of the intricacies and ethics of municipal government, things looked promising on Monday, July 27th.

A very light two-action item Front Royal Town Council agenda revolving around people GIVING the Town money or LOVE letters for display. How hard could it be, right – even with some critical citizen “Public Comments” from a riled-up Paul Gabbert and a more measured council candidate Bruce Rappaport?

That was before Matt Tederick decided to turn his Interim Town Manager’s report into a political attack on Royal Examiner Publisher and mayoral candidate Mike McCool, not present Monday, over meeting comments made two weeks earlier about the prevalence of unattended-to potholes around town.

Monday night the interim town manager found himself in a quandary, but over what – defending public works staff that had not been attacked or turning his manager’s report into a political campaign attack? Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner videos/Mark Williams

Not that there aren’t any, Tederick admitted – “It’s on me and me alone,” he commented on their presence before attempting at length to portray McCool’s July 13th comments on a lapse of timely Town attention to road infrastructure issues, into an attack on the Town’s Public Works staff.

Tederick’s report started normally as he noted posting on the Town website and various other social media and distribution sources of the application process for the Town’s $1.2 million share of the CARES Act COVID-19 Coronavirus relief funding. But after one-minute-and-43 seconds, Tederick hesitated to say he found himself in a “quandary”.

“I really struggled with what to say tonight, whether I should or should not make these comments,” the interim town manager began, continuing to say he lived by “several personal mottos” including “always speak truth to power.”

So, who was the long-time County Republican Committee chairman, officer, and power broker described favorably by fellow local Republican Committee official Amber Poe Morris earlier this year as “Front Royal’s (Donald) Trump” getting ready to speak to? I found myself wondering.

“The quandary I find myself in, is on one hand I feel strong cause to protect town citizens who have been unfairly attacked. But on the other hand, calling out a current mayor candidate and owner of a local business and newspaper is the quandary I find myself in,” Tederick said in prefacing his coming remarks.

Uh oh.
Saying he would “walk the line” Tederick began his defense of the public works department’s street maintenance crews – crews I do not recall being the target of McCool’s comments two weeks earlier a day after he said he had run through a massive pothole he feared might have damaged the undercarriage of his tiny “smart” car. It was apparently the same pothole the mayor had also hit recently, Tewalt later indicated. In fact, this reporter’s video review of McCool’s July 13 public comments indicated a critical focus on “department heads” and town administrative staff oversight of town crews and contractors for follow-up work, rather than of town staff in the field.

As Mayor Tewalt tries to stop a politically volatile staff report, he found himself at odds with a majority of council, including Letasha Thompson, Jacob Meza and Chris Holloway to the mayor’s left.

After two minutes of recitation of interdepartmental processes aimed at discrediting McCool’s road infrastructure comments, Mayor Gene Tewalt interrupted the interim town manager to say that if the public was going to be limited in the amount of time they could berate town officials, perhaps town staff should also be limited in the amount of time devoted to the personal berating of the political opponent of a sitting councilman, mayoral candidate, and fellow Tederick Warren County Republican Committee member. Chris Holloway is also on the November mayoral ballot.

Responding that he was unaware of time limitations on staff reports, Tederick continued for another 2-1/2 minutes before the mayor again tried to end what had turned into a politically-tinged report. But this time when Tewalt attempted to halt Tederick, he was set upon by several councilmen, including Letasha Thompson, Gary Gillespie, Jacob Meza and briefly Holloway, who concurred with Meza that it was the mayor, rather than Tederick who had turned the meeting into a politicized sideshow – “I’m not surprised,” Holloway said of a negative perception of Mayor Tewalt’s attempts to cut Tederick’s report short.

Above, Jacob Meza was pointedly critical of the mayor as politicizing the meeting by trying to halt the interim town manager’s explanation of why town crews were not at fault on road maintenance issues, not that anyone said they were. Below, mayoral candidate Chris Holloway concurred with Meza’s assessment Mayor Tewalt was politicizing the meeting, not the interim town manager.

The following morning after asking McCool to watch our video of Tederick, the mayor and council’s interaction over the attack on his July 13th “pothole of the day” comments, I asked our publisher for a response to what he saw, reminding him I had told him a month earlier his candidacy would make Royal Examiner, its staff and election coverage a target throughout the campaign season.

McCool replied that I was correct in recalling that his remarks had not been directed at Town work crews, but rather at administrative oversight and communications between contractors and department heads on follow-up work. – “I know, Mike, I re-watched the video this morning,” I told him, adding, “I still hold you responsible for the hellish situation I find myself in as a reporter. – You know, it’ll be my reporting next meeting that is somebody’s ‘quandary’ for comment.

Who’s next – Mike McCool approaches the podium to discuss road maintenance issues on July 13, as reporter scribbles away old school at improvised press table about whatever the previous speaker was talking about.

As for his reply to Monday’s political developments, McCool said, “It seems Mr. Tederick is up to his political tricks and negativity. When I made the comments at the Town Council meeting two weeks ago, Mr. Tederick called my comments ‘absolutely false’. Are they? Mr. Tederick emailed me the next morning asking for the addresses of the potholes and the site of the curb and gutter issues. He said he wanted to address the problem and get them taken care of ASAP.

“And Mr. Tederick told me after the meeting that the Town had seven contractors doing this work, and they were inspecting the jobs, but one contractor had been doing such a poor job, most of which had to be redone, that the inspector was spending all his time with this one contractor. I noticed he didn’t mention any of this in the Town Manager’s report on the 27th.”

McCool added that people could judge for themselves what happened last night from watching the meeting video of the political turn in Tederick’s report and the contrasting reactions to it. In the first video we’ve edited his actual comments to council on July 13 and Tederick’s report which pivots toward McCool, as well as the mayor-manager and mayor-council sparring over the political turn the meeting had taken.


The second video is the entire Town Council meeting of July 27th.

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