The Purcellville Town Council took no action last night after a 90-minute closed session to discuss the performance—and continued employment—of Town Manager Robert W. Lohr Jr.
It was the second such meeting, following a three-hour session April 11. However, it was the first to formally indicate that Lohr, who has held the position for 24 years, may not finish out the term of his employment contract, which ends next year.
The motion to enter Tuesday’s closed session identified the purpose as “the annual performance evaluation of the Town Manager, including discussion of performance, demotion, disciplining, separation agreement from the Town’s payroll by retirement or resignation or other appropriate action based on this evaluation.”
Concerns over Lohr’s future prompted a large turnout at the meeting, with a crowd of about 50 people gathered with the hopes of addressing the council members before their closed session. Among them was former Councilman Steve Varmecky, who said he and others wanted to support Lohr and highlight his many contributions to the town. A public comment period was not planned on the agenda for the night’s special meeting and Mayor Kwasi Fraser asked them to return to next Tuesday’s council meeting.
Some of the business and community leaders gathered asked the council to hold its talks in open session. Councilman Doug McCollum and Nedim Ogelman said they were open to that suggestion in the interest of transparency, but after a discussion council members and Lohr agreed that performance reviews are normally conducted in private. Lohr said a discussion in open session might be appropriate at next week’s meeting.
Following the closed session, Lohr thanked the council for a “very positive meeting,” in which he had been able to present various options.
Lohr said would be making an announcement at Tuesday’s meeting.