Following Multiple Resignations, Lovettsville Council Reviews Committee Structure

Following controversy surrounding an unexpected committee appointment and the resignations of five community volunteers, the Lovettsville Town Council on Thursday night discussed ways of improving the town’s committee structure.

The council on Nov. 19 voted to re-appoint Andru-Scot Spangler to the Oktoberfest Committee, five months after it voted to remove him for a comment he posted on a North Carolina-based newspaper’s Facebook page, on an article with the headline “Confederate Battle Flags Removed From Graves,” in which he wrote “Blacks are filled with more hate, than any other race in America.”

Councilman Chris Hornbaker made the motion to re-appoint Spangler immediately following a vote to appoint then-Planning Commissioner Kris Consaul to the Love Winter Committee. Consaul had previously made a Facebook post of an image featuring the bird from the town logo reading “Nazi Punks F— OFF!” for which the Town Council voted to censure her.

Hornbaker this week reasserted his statements from Nov. 19: that both the comment Spangler posted on The Shelby Star’s Facebook page and the post by Consaul on her personal Facebook account were “disparaging and embarrassing to the town.”

“When people represent the town, there’s certain expectations and that is that you’re professional and that you respect the town, staff and each other,” he said. “Both of them were met with the same standard.”

Still, Mayor Nate Fontaine this week said he felt the two instances were not “apples to apples comparisons.”

Following the vote to re-appoint Spangler, Consaul resigned from the Planning Commission and Jim McIntyre, Natalie Metzler and two others resigned from the Oktoberfest Committee. Consaul said those resignations were made in opposition to “racism and white supremacy.”

On Nov. 21, Fontaine vetoed the vote to re-appoint Spangler, noting that the vote was “procedurally incorrect” because Spangler had not even applied for the spot.

“[Spangler was] completely caught off guard after our meeting,” Fontaine said Thursday night.

There have also been multiple resignations throughout 2020 from town committees, which some residents have cited as being in response to the political lean of the new Town Council.

Fontaine said the many recent resignations might be in response to that change on the council and in response to the lack of committee meetings being held amid the pandemic.

But even with multiple resignations in recent months, Interim Town Manager Sam Finz said he has never seen such a “robust level of participation” in town committees in any of the other many jurisdictions in which he has worked.

“You got a good thing going,” he said.

Thursday night’s discussion on resignations prompted a talk on the process the town uses to appoint members to event committees.

Councilwoman Renee Edmonston said she felt the appointment process for the town’s smaller committees—like the Love Winter, Love America and Love Summer subcommittees—should be simplified while the larger committees—like the Oktoberfest Committee and the MayFest Committee, which plan events that draw thousands of visitors to the town each year—should remain formalized as they already are.

Councilwoman Joy Pritz echoed that feeling, adding that people want to be involved in town event planning, but the commitment to do so is “overwhelming.”

Councilman David Earl, too, said he felt membership on the town’s smaller committees should be on a volunteer basis only.

“I think it would be much more simplified without the appointment of all these people that we’ve been doing,” he said.

Fontaine said a little work to committee structure could benefit the town.

“We can fine tune things, absolutely, but I wouldn’t throw things out,” he said.

Finz agreed that “maybe [the appointment process] does need to be reviewed.”

The Town Council is expected to schedule a work session to talk through potential changes to committee structure in January.

The council Thursday night also voted to direct the town staff to publish an advertisement soliciting responses from residents interested in serving on the Planning Commission to fill Consaul’s seat, which is set to expire June 30, 2021. The deadline to apply for that vacancy is Jan. 6.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

2 thoughts on “Following Multiple Resignations, Lovettsville Council Reviews Committee Structure

  • 2020-12-04 at 10:13 pm
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    Lovettsville has become the new Purcellville, all they need is Mayor Kwasi to make that poop show complete.

  • 2020-12-05 at 9:13 am
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    Anyone that would falsely equate racism with antiracism (regardless of the language used) is on the wrong side of this issue…and on the wrong side of logic itself. Further, any institution that would offer protection to racists should be dismantled. Do better, Lovettsville.

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