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Middletown mayor, two councilmen resign

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Marshall Brown


Move comes as protest of others' 'personal agendas'

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

MIDDLETOWN -- The Middletown mayor and two members of Town Council resigned their seats Monday night in protest of others' "personal agendas."

Mayor Marshall J. "Mark" Brown and Councilmen Gilbert D. "Gil" Barrington and John Wesley Blaisdell Jr. criticized other members' conduct before each man announced at the regular Town Council meeting they would step down. Resignations took effect immediately and all three men walked away from their seats at the beginning of the short meeting.

"I can honestly say that I have never seen a more dysfunctional group of people who are supposed to be working toward the welfare of the citizens of the town," stated Barrington, who joined council six months ago. "Frankly, we are the laughingstock of the area and I will no longer be a part of this."

Blaisdell returned to council after serving more than a decade.

"I can no longer serve an atmosphere of too many personal agendas and disregard for the overall good of the town of Middletown and its citizens, effective 3/12/12." Blaisdell read from his statement.

Brown, who has stepped down as mayor before only to rejoin council, named names in his longer letter.

"I have fought an endless battle with the Council, the majority of whom have allowed their personal agendas to supercede the needs of this community," Brown read from a statement.

The resignations leave three vacancies on council. Council member Charles H. Harbaugh IV assumed the role of mayor.

Outside the town office building after the announcements members admitted not knowing until shortly before the meeting that their colleagues planned to resign.

Council members Mark H. Davis, Carl H. Bernhards and Donna M.G. Gray responded to the resignations with some surprise and defended themselves against the accusations.
Davis told the audience of a couple dozen people he urged Barrington before the meeting to reconsider his decision.

"A lot of the allegations about how much of a mess we're in have been grossly overstated, and also the allegations that it's the council that's the problem has been grossly overstated," Davis said. "If we didn't have disagreements I'd be a little worried."
Brown had accused Davis and others, including three members of the planning commission, of thwarting efforts to prepare the town for an expected growth in population and for killing a proposal to extend Middletown's boundaries across Interstate 81 which would bring more revenue to the locality.

"The egomania of Councilor Mark Davis, the duplicity of Councilor Carl Bernhards and the bitter vindictiveness of fired Clerk/Treasurer and now Councilor Donna Gum-Gray delayed legislation, froze budget adjustments and halted critical infrastructure repair and improvements," Brown stated.

Bernhards refuted some of Brown's comments.

"I don't believe that anyone has really in any way tried to stop the boundary adjustment on the other side of I-81," Bernhards said.

The mayor also blamed "the egregious conduct of three Town Councilors," supported by three members of the Planning Commission, for spurring the resignation of J. David Griffin as the Town Attorney, a role he took on in January. Griffin gave his resignation earlier that day.

"They not only attacked his integrity, but forced him into a position of referee as they placed their own person agendas over that of the best interests of this community," Brown read from his own statement.




13 Comments



Megan it is not the end of the world as we know it. Yes, it is sad, but I have been hearing that the Middletown council had been getting testy every now and then, so nothing surprises me here.

I don't really know the situation here, so it is hard for me make a judgement. I think this might be on-going drama for awhile unfortunately.

Do they have an election coming up in May?

Since my last attendance at a Middletown Council meeting some years ago (Chemstone Quarry rezoning) this article about all the drama queen shenanigans ongoing in Middletown are nothing new... lots of huffing and puffing.... lots of pointing fingers, some horizontal, some vertical... where are the specific details supporting the allegations?

In short, if every person on the Middletown Town Council dais were to pass away tomorrow and you gave them all enemas, you could burry the whole bunch in one matchbox.

Thank goodness!!! Darn Front Royal and Strasburg council members had been getting all the press for their antics. Great job to the former mayor for getting Middletown back in the papers. We needed that. Your antics are an embarrassment to the town and it's citizens. You ran for the office and proved you didn't deserve it. When you disagree with what is going on you fight to change it..not quit like a spoiled little kid. Good riddance. I say dissolve the town and go back to village status...I already pay Frederick County taxes so let them take over...You people obviously can't.

Whoa!! Are you people on drugs or just plain dumb?? What's the common denominator here - certainly not the new pizza boy mayor or even the last Mayor. Who was there when Mayor Steel suddenly resigned in 2008? Who was there when former Town Attorney Steve Butler resigned? Who was there when the newest attorney gave a no notice resignation? How about Zoning Administrator Wharton and two other Planning Commission members? And now Mayor Brown, Councilor Barrington and Councilor Blaisdell? All of these people have decades of solid public service experience. And now our future is in the hands of the common denominators Mark Davis, Donna Gray and Carl Bernhards (& his three puppets on the Unplanning Commission who couldn't spell Plan even if they knew what one was!!) A certified group of social misfits who care only about themselves and have proven they know nothing about governing even their own lives. Middletown, you need to clean house and beg foregiveness!! The end is truly near.

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I agree with Jack, the way to solve Middletown's problems would be to disolve the town.

I also vote to dissolve the town. Besides all of the embarrassing shenanigans, I am tired of double taxation.

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Have to say, you hit the nail on the head. Not sure why no one else has realized that either. It's the "duh" factor.

Megan, did you request to have your earlier rant taken off?

Just stay tuned if you really care. But you will actually have to come to the meetings, not just wait for a chance to throw a tantrum in the paper. Middletown's management is about to get both boring and productive. I encourage everyone to get involved. We have openings on Planning Commission and the Comprehensive Plan update committee is open to all in Middletown.

Anita Holley
Middletown
Planning Commission

Well you know something Anita Holley, I get real tired of hearing my elected officials tell me i have to attend a meeting to have a voice. I have a voice when i vote for someone to attend the meetings for me. I have a voice when i choose to live in Middletown and pay their taxes and fees. As usual what the residents hear is since you don't come to the meetings, you don't have a voice. Not so and maybe after this fiasco you elected and appointed officials will finally realize that. You work for me...don't forget that.

The only members left on the plan. comm. or council have done everything but listen to the town's people.
Just think! if these current members had their way the Dollar General would have NOT been built and it's the best store to open in Middletown in I bet you better than 50yrs.
The town really wishes that all the members resigned including you Anita Holly!

I have to agree with Motor Man. The remaining Middletown Councilors and Planning "Commissioners" are a DISGRACE to this town. Unless one is part of their "Good Ol' Boys" club or is of a different "hue" as their own, one will NEVER be properly represented. The Planning Commission is ran by a bunch of "wannabees" with one goal in mind...THEIR OWN! They are unprofessional, and have gone against any kind of REAL improvement for this town. I have a friend who applied for one of the vacant seats on the Commission and was flat-out DENIED before given a chance to prove himself...his application was presented at the next Council Meeting and the Chair of the Commission lied and stated that the applicant "withdrew" his application. This commission has already gone against Virginia State Law by not even turning in a Comprehensive Plan to the County or State by the due date...the former Mayor did the plan lawfully himself and turned it in. This so-called "Commission" has also adopted their own set of "rules" that were not ratified by City Council, thus operating as their own, independent entity.
So, if a real CHANGE FOR THE BETTER is to happen, these self-righteous, pompous, arrogant individuals that are currently holding Middletown Government seats need to WAKE UP, LISTEN TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS, or be REMOVED!

I do agree with Jack's second comment which made a very good point that the town council should know the basic needs and wants for the residents without us constantly reminding them. What concerns me most is when the council considers something is good for the town and continue to pursue it against the people's wishes. An example is the Historic mandate that took on a life of it's own after a lot of money spent for studies and certain council members pushing the issue on the citizens of Strasburg. As a crafty attorney, the council ask for way more than they knew they could get, knowing they had wiggle room in the forum. Or maybe I'm giving them too much credit here? Anyway, after all the kicking and scratchin was over they gave a modest amount to get it passed. Of course, with a clause that it can be reviewed each year, which means they will eventually get what they want anyway. It didn't do much for our citizen participation Anita Holley, considering lot of people came to the meetings.



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