Lohr to Step Down as Purcellville Town Manager

After hours of closed sessions for a performance review, 24-year Purcellville Town Manager Rob W. Lohr Jr. will be leaving his post—a decision that put most council members under intense criticism in a long public comment session Tuesday night.

“I can’t believe that you’re actually letting this guy walk away, and [council member Kelli] Grim should be ashamed of herself to bring this sort of thing to the town,” said Magic Kayhan. “You have no idea which way is east and which way is West Main Street.”

Lohr serves under an annual contract. He will leave the job on July 1.

Speaker after speaker, including several previous council members, thanked Lohr for his years of service and battered the council for letting Lohr go.

“It’s a very sad night,” said former council member Beverly MacDonald-Chiasson. “People often asked me, when I came off council, what I thought my biggest accomplishment was, what I was most proud of. I now have my answer. Without a doubt, it was being part of the council that hired you, Rob.”

Only two council members expressed support for keeping Lohr on: Doug McCollum and Chris Bledsoe.

“At the council’s April 11 closed session, I made several provocative statements to try to make the members of the council to consider the road they were on,” McCollum said. “Little did I know that the majority of council had already decided to separate the town manager from his position with a negotiated buy-out.” He said although Lohr had suggestions to address criticism of his work, none of the council members who had critical evaluations of Lohr “gave him the courtesy of hearing his ideas.”

“Will the town continue to thrive and succeed without Rob?” Bledsoe asked. “I’m sure we will, but I believe it will be somewhat more difficult without the expertise and guidance that comes from someone who has guided Purcellville through some of our most tumultuous times.”

Grim and Vice Mayor Karen Jimmerson defended the separation.

“Absolutely he’s great, but we also have to understand he’s built a wonderful house and foundation,” Jimmerson said. “The staff that he’s put in place are terrific, they’re absolutely fabulous people, and I think it’s a disservice to say the whole world is going to fall apart without him, because then that says that he doesn’t have a good staff.”

“I can assure you that this has been a difficult decision, but I’m blessed to have a loving wife and children that encouraged me to take this leap of faith into the next chapter of my life, like I did when I came here 25 years ago,” Lohr said.

Council members did not disclose the details of his separation.

“I believe the settlement that we came to with Mr. Lohr was equitable and fair,” said Mayor Kwasi Fraser. “And for the folks out there that believe that Purcellville has nowhere to go but down, I’ll prove you all wrong.”

One of several times people at the Purcellville Town Council meeting Tuesday, April 25 stood to applaud outgoing town manager Rob W. Lohr Jr. and his supporters on council. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]
rgreene@loudounnow.com

3 thoughts on “Lohr to Step Down as Purcellville Town Manager

  • 2017-04-26 at 9:55 am
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    It seems a small angry mob of bullies, most of who don’t live or vote in the town of Purcellville, showed up with their torches and pitchforks last night. Wouldn’t surprise me if most of them were developers or made money from it. A little change now and then can be good.

  • 2017-04-26 at 12:39 pm
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    What a truly false comment and representation of last night by “tothefuture”. Luckily it was recorded and the emails entered into the record. I am sure the comment is made by 1 of the 5 that pushed for this sad day. cool, grim, jimmerson, ogelman, jimmerson and mayor Fraser. Ran on conspiracy theories and are yet to uncover anything other than the hard reality that the town was doing better before them.

  • 2017-04-26 at 3:00 pm
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    I agree with MustBeNice. The first comment from ‘tothefuture’ truly reads just like the comment from the gang of 5 on the town council. After over an hour of citizens (yes – citizens, including myself) blasting the council members – notably Grimm and Fraser, they still wore that smug look on their faces. Not a single person in that room had anything to offer for Mr. Lohr except praise for a job well-done, and a deep sense of loss that he was going to be leaving our town early. Not a single person had anything positive to say about the 5 council members that railroaded Mr. Lohr.

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