Editorial: A Tiresome Narrative

Last year in this space, as missteps by Purcellville’s elected leadership became more glaring to those outside of Town Hall, we offered the following observation and question:

This Town Council has had a quick hook for staffers suspected of offenses—real and imagined. But at what point does the council consider a vote of no confidence in its own management?

Last week, the conclusions of the council’s various investigations into allegations of misconduct by a roster of town staff managers were released and they can be summarized thusly: Some problems were of the council’s own making, and other accusations were simply baseless witch hunts. By the town’s own tally, more than $430,000 has been spent as a result—that’s almost as much as a year’s worth of personal property tax collections. And that total is expected to increase—perhaps significantly—as work by the outside investigators continues and claims by employees or former employees are processed.

Added to that nonsense is the hand-wringing over the decision by one of western Loudoun’s largest youth sports leagues to leave its home at Fireman’s Field. What did the council think would happen when it pushed to better monetize the town’s largest public park? Was there a rational expectation that turning over the operation and maintenance responsibilities of the complex to private companies that were willing to pay for those privileges would result in lower fees? Hardly. And don’t blame the operators; this is the direction set by the town’s elected leadership.

One thing town residents didn’t hear during the past week was any statement of accountability from the mayor or council members. In fact, several continued to cast blame at past councils and managers who weren’t anywhere near this mess. It is a tiresome narrative.

With the elected leaders sticking with a strategy of denials, finger-pointing and obfuscation, only the voters can set a new course for their town.

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