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Resident not satisfied with investigation of ex-district manager

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- County officials have responded to a Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District's resident and her request for an investigation into the expenditures and activities of former District Manager, Chris Fisher, but the resident is still not satisfied.

Melissa Chappell-White presented a letter to the Board of Supervisors at their Feb. 7 meeting, formally requesting the investigations. She claimed that the new management "started very well," but slowed and came to a halt in the fall of 2011, and after the unexpected snow in October, no resident of the district had seen or heard from the manager.

Chappell-White requested detailed itemization, records and documentary support for all expenditures to date, all activities performed by the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District Manager since his hiring, and all road study activities.

Also in her letter, Chappell-White said, "when the county took over management of the [sanitary district], we were promised: Full accountability for our tax dollars, a manager who would work full time solely for us, and a road study upon which to base future improvements. To date, we have not received any of these, and the situation has deteriorated significantly over the last six months..."

A copy of the response letter from Deputy County Administrator Robert Childress was provided to board members at the March 6 meeting. Childress responded as he oversaw Fisher's position during his time as district manager.

In response to the expenditures inquiry, Childress provided budgets for fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, and noted that all expenditures were available for public review.

"It is impossible to provide the requested detailed itemization for all activities [Fisher] performed since his hiring," Childress wrote in response to Chappell-White's second request. He also provided a description of the district manager's position and responsibilities.

Chappell-White also asked for an update on the road and drainage study, which began in August of 2011. Surveys were sent out to residents so specific issues could be addressed on the 43 miles of road that run through the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District.

"The final report is expected by mid-March 2012," the response letter states. "The road and drainage study has proven to be more of a challenge than what was originally anticipated," it says.

Childress also pointed out that Fisher was at board meetings to give reports on the district in November of 2011, which is after the point that Chappell-White said he hadn't been seen.

Chappell-White addressed the board before the response was discussed and said that the budget was not what she asked for, and instead wanted to see individual expenditures.
"How was the money spent," she asked.

Fisher's last day as district manager was Feb. 3, and multiple requests for an exit interview went unanswered.


While employed at VDOT, now Asst County Administrator Childress learned the basic versions of how-to "duck, dodge, and weave". Employment with the County has brought graduate school instruction taught at the feet of his mentor, County Administrator Stanley who holds a Ph.D. in befuddlement.

In the past, if Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District residents asked for oranges, the District gave them apples and obfuscation. And now with the County and Childress in charge of supervising the SFSD, when residents ask for accountability, the County gives them a song, a dance, and a pat on the head... go away little girl, you're bothering us.

Is it any wonder decades long control of local government by the Republican Good Old Boys has brought us to this point? Ask where the tax money was spent and the Good Old Boys respond with a version of that game your grandma taught you;

Button, button, who's got the button?

Five Supervisors listened to this citizen's complaint, listened to bafflegab Childress answers, and not one Supervisor grabbed the reins of leadership to manage their employee Childress, directing him to buckle down and provide expenditure details? How was the money spent?

If this is what can be expected, I'm sorry I voted for Murray. Get busy and fulfill your campaign promises.

As the article reports, the expenditures of the sanitary district are a matter of public record. These records are available to anyone who wants to review them. Perhaps the reason BOS wasn't moved by Chappell-White remarks is because they have dealt with her and her cohorts before. It wouldn't be the first time they have made outrageous assertions and requests. Chappell-White's allegations against the POSF BOD cost the residents of Shenandoah Farms several thousands of dollars and the allegations were found to be inaccurate and without merit. While Mr. Fisher was the sanitary district manager I found him to be very open with information and a very hard worker with an excellent grasp of what needed to be done. He also was not shy about putting sweat-equity into his job. It was clearly the district's loss when he decided that he needed to move on to a different job. His presence will be missed !!!!!

J.S. Just wondering if you are a resident of Shenandoah Farms??? If you are you must have been attending different meetings than the ones that I went to. In the meetings I went to Mr. Fisher was always open with budgeted numbers and expenditures.

Almost 4 years ago I was negotiating to purchase a property located within the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District. I decided against it because of the problems coming to light. I was appalled by the HOA's hostile treatment of my inquiries. The meetings I attended should have had a police presence to protect the audience and maintain civility. Two board members in particular were hostile towards EVERYONE. I wondered why. Was I imagining things? What was wrong here? Why was this Board so dysfunctional and defensive? As it turned out these warning signs were prophetic.

Later, after a long contentious debate from both sides -- (we did nothing wrong -- oh, yes you did) -- before the Board of Supervisors, including a work session, the BOS took control, promising better governance. I understand it was the allegations by Chappell-White and her cohorts that led to the BOS decision assuming control and management of the Sanitary District. So, despite the opinion from 'wagonman' above who derides previous allegations by Chappell-White, county authorities agreed to support those allegations that financial and managerial irregularities plagued the Sanitary District. That decision directly led to the departure of those hostile board members I previously mentioned. Progress was being made.... or was it?

And now with this article, I will continue to postpone my purchase decision until these issues of how the money is being spent are resolved. If other potential buyers ask for my opinion, I'll say wait for the other shoe to hit the floor before buying property in Shenandoah Farms. Too much risk potential for my comfort.

Who in their right mind (and halfway informed) would buy a property in Shenandoah Farms??? In addition to the horrendous problems Buck Snort describes, you have the Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department SFVFD, which uses intimidation (see the County report) to keep people in line. Why would anyone who could do better buy a property in this place??? Only out of ignorance of the situation there and unwarrented trust that normal conditions prevail when one puts down good money. Shenandoah Farms is not like your ordinary community... Per the Warren County police department, a majority of their problems originate there... innumerable felons paraded around as "fine" people. Hopefully, you will not learn the hard way... STAY AWAY from this "community" that is "served" by individuals so inured to crime that they do not recognize one when they see it. Why in the world do you think Doug Stanley and the government saw the need to establish a sanitary district?????? Because of moneys so cunningly diverted it would cost an inordinate amount to prosecute the perps! Welcome to our communities, where people just want to pay their money and live their lives are repeatedly surprised by felonies committed on their properties, pleas granted to felons with 20-year records that are paraded around a "fine" people ready to do your yard work, etc., and you suck up the difference!

Oh, give us a break, a person doesn't have to be an (unfortunate) resident of Shenandoah Farms to know that the whole reason a Sanitary District was deemed and VOTED necessary (by the hapless residents of that blighted "community") is that the suspected embezzlement of taxpayer money was going to be too expensive to prosecute. Now those "old timers" hold forth in the Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department. Yeah, the same one that was not ashamed to plead not knowing how to manage a credit card account as an excuse for more than $4,800 in diving equipment going missing and then turning up in the Bahamas. And we still have long-time members of SFVFD raising their heads and braying attacks on people who just want to ask questions before investing hard-earned, good money in property there. Well, it is easy to depreciate others' concerns before investing when one is accustomed to felons who never contributed anything honest to the community being harbored there and even recommended as painters, etc. to hapless, trusting residents who have better things to do than scratch their heads and wonder if their neighbors are convicted felons out on "supervised" probation. Before you go on the attack against a law-abiding citizen who wants to do due diligence before inventing in Shenandoah Farms, why not go on the attack against those who riddled critics with gun shots (hey, even a bb gun shot is traumatic to the individual on the receiving end) when they had the temerity to question the practices of Shenandoah Farms. Uh oh, it Buck Snort makes the mistake of actually buying property in Shenandoah Farms and then has the temerity to question ANYTHING, I guess he better watch out for gun shots at his house too. Hey, there are so many HIGH QUALITY communities where one can invest these days, why even think about Shenandoah Farms????

Josea, how does a simple statement of support for the former sanitary district manager bring on such a vitriolic inaccurate rambling diatribe???

In the first place the sanitary district was not formed because of suspected embezzlement. There never were any charges or allegations of wrong doing. Your statement borders closely to libel. The POSF Board of directors actually voted to initiate talks with the county to transfer management.

Could you possibly explain your continued ramblings about SFVFD , felons, painting, and yard work.

I did not attack anyone who was thinking about buying in the Farms.

There was never an official connection between the BBgun shots and SFVFD. That was an opinion expressed by a Clarke County deputy who was not involved with the investigation.

BS, I feel that I must reply to your post about the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District. Let me repeat my statement about the charges leveled against the POSF BOD. Chappell-White's charges were investigated by the county attorney and an attorney from the POSF's insurer.
This investigation cost the residents of SF several thousand dollars and the charges were found to be inaccurate and without merit. Chappell-White and her cohorts were regular attendees at POSF meetings until the county took responsibility for management of the Sanitary District. Now they direct their concerns and baseless allegations to the BOS.

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