King George supervisors speak on staff departures

by | Mar 21, 2024 | ALLFFP, Government, King George

The King George County Board of Supervisors finds itself inundated with requests from constituents desiring to understand the dysfunction in the county’s administrative offices. 

Board members attempted to explain during Tuesday’s meeting why the county attorney, county administrator, deputy county attorney, human resources director, economic development director and finance director have all resigned since January. 

The county also watched nine firefighters depart in that time, which is a public safety concern, said Triston Beverly, president of King George Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Local 4438. 

Board Chair T.C. Collins blamed the chaos of the past few months on the previous board, before he was elected chair and three new members took office.  

However, comments from William Davis, a first-year representative from the Dahlgren District, shed light on how a more hands-on approach from the supervisors may have made staff members uncomfortable. 

“What I see in a lot of our county structure is it’s really heavy at the top and it’s not as heavy at the bottom,” Collins said. “When it’s heavy at the top, it falls over. We’ve fallen over. Why did we fall over? Because of your last board … They made decisions that were not in the best interests of the citizens or the county.” 

Davis said that he, David Sullins and Ken Stroud promised transparency when they were elected in November. He said it was not solely about transparency from the board to the residents, but that openness was also expected from the county staff to the board. He said there was resistance from county staff to provide information to the board to present to the public. 

Ineptitude also played a role, Davis said. He said that days after he took office, staff members lamented running out of chemicals for the sewer system. 

Collins said there were times when no one was present at the front desk, and when some employees worked from home, they were unavailable online. Davis said he does not regret any losses of county staff. 

“There are some good hard-working people that are sitting up in those offices, but there are cases where people are resisting and more worried about what the past board thought – secret meetings with the past board and trying to sabotage things that are going on,” Davis said. “It’s a fact that there are people who would rather see us fail and King George get messed up just so they can get their way.” 

Davis also said that under the previous board, the county administrator or board members would ask department heads questions and not receive answers for months. He said the board did not hold those individuals accountable. 

He said that the Virginia code permits the board of supervisors to act as overseers of more than just the county attorney and the county administrator, but the entire staff.  

Nick Minor, the county’s soon-to-be former director of tourism and economic development who resigned in February, said that even if it is technically permissible by law, it is unusual for board members to want to oversee staff.  

“I think if you look at any other county government, the way I understand it is my boss would be the county administrator, not the board of supervisors,” Minor said. “It is my job to execute the vision of the board of supervisors. If I can’t get that done, I answer to the county administrator. That is my view on it … That is how most governments operate. If they want to go in a different direction, then that is on them.” 

Minor’s last day is Tuesday. He said that he did not take the supervisors’ comments personally because they do not apply to him, and that he believes board members use speaking opportunities to make political statements. 

“Someone else may take it very personally, and that’s why you should not make statements like that when you’re up there,” Minor said. “It doesn’t mean anything to me. I have my own reputation, not just in the region, but also in the community. So, if that was directed toward me, that’s fine. I think people know who I am and know what I am about. I don’t feel a need to respond to that.” 

Beverly said he’s concerned about a lack of engagement from the supervisors regarding the fire department. He said there are concerns about pay and certification standards in comparison to other jurisdictions and that a new firehouse is needed for Company 2.  

Beverly noted that on a recent call, only the driver responded because of a lack of staffing, saying “This is unacceptable.” 

Collins and Stroud disputed Beverly’s statements about a lack of engagement. Davis said the board supports firefighters “one thousand percent” but added that they must be good stewards of the county’s funds before agreeing to build a new firehouse and addressing other concerns.  

“Mr. Beverly, you have false information,” Collins said. “You are being led down a road that is not true, that is not honest. Those things will reveal itself in a matter of time.” 

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