Purcellville Police Chief Reinstated, Remains on Leave

Purcellville has reinstated Cynthia McAlister to her position as police chief, nearly three weeks after firing her.

The action, made Wednesday, was in response to the town’s ongoing audit of the original investigation, which was headed by Interim Town Manager Alex Vanegas and led to her firing Nov. 2.

According to McAlister’s attorney, John V. Berry, she is being back paid and has been placed on paid administrative leave until the audit is complete.

“We are very pleased with the town’s decision and will work with them through the audit process,” Berry said. “Chief McAlister is pleased with this decision.”

Her reinstatement comes one day after Vanegas was placed on administrative leave following allegations last week that he had been involved in an inappropriate personal relationship with Georgia Nuckolls, the human resources consultant he hired to help lead the investigation of  McAlister.

According to a town statement on Sunday, the discovery was made in, “emails from persons outside the Town which contained allegations of employee wrongdoing and statements of potentially criminal threats.”

The Town Council also learned that Nuckolls had a criminal history that included convictions for fraud and forgery.

The same town statement read, “With this knowledge, the Town recognizes that the integrity of this investigation may be called into question, and will promptly hire an outside independent firm to audit and review the investigation.”

The original investigation of the McAlister was said to have “substantiated” allegations against her. Those included that she acted outside of the scope of her job as chief of police; engaged in selective enforcement; violated General Orders concerning internal affairs investigations; practiced employee intimidation; had been untruthful; and violated town and police procedural policies, according to a statement from the town.

The town is now investigating the integrity of the original investigation and actions taken by Vanegas since he was appointed interim town manager in May.

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