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Shenandoah County supervisor attacked on regional jail stance

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Demonstrators protest Shenandoah County's involvement in the RSW Regional Jail project Monday outside the old courthouse in Woodstock. Sally Voth/Daily

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Scott Bailey and Marsha Shruntz join demonstrators in protesting Shenandoah County's involvement in the RSW Regional Jail project Monday outside the old courthouse in Woodstock. Sally Voth/Daily

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Anti-jail sentiment reached a fever pitch during a town hall meeting Monday night at Woodstock Fire Department.

About a dozen or so sign-wielding protesters gathered in the courthouse square while District 4 Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli and School Board Chairman Gary Rutz got the meeting, on what was supposed to be the county's proposed fiscal 2013 budget, under way.

Drivers in several passing vehicles honked in support, and others gave the thumbs-up.

"Sharon Baroncelli's attitude is defiant, and the taxpayers of this county don't appreciate it," protester Marsha Shruntz said. "Baroncelli calls us hysterical."

Inside the fire hall, emotions ran high, with some critics launching a blistering attack on Baroncelli.

Cindy Bailey, who was the chief jailer at the Shenandoah County Jail before retiring several years ago, said taxes keep going up.

"Your taxes haven't been raised in seven years," Baroncelli responded.

Projects kept getting "kicked down" the road, leading to falling-down buildings, she said.

"We're spending money on projects that we don't need," Bailey said. "We don't need them right now. They can wait. Get out of [the jail project]."

The meeting came on the eve of a pivotal vote on the estimated $89 million regional jail project.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote this morning on a resolution authorizing the execution of a support agreement with the jail authority to participate in the Virginia Resources Authority's spring bond pool for $65 million, and to issue short-term notes in the maximum of $33 million, said Walker outside the town hall meeting.

And, on Thursday, construction bids are due to be opened, he said.

Several times, Baroncelli tried to change the topic from the RSW Regional Jail to the budget, but was unsuccessful. She and Bailey repeatedly interrupted each other throughout the meeting.

At one point, Bailey accused Baroncelli of dishonesty, which caused the supervisor to bristle.

"I do not lie," she said in a shaking voice. "I have never lied about anything."

Bailey questioned whether money for the jail was factored into the proposed fiscal 2013 budget. Baroncelli said it wasn't, that the county wouldn't have to start paying for that until fiscal 2015.

There are "pretty extraordinary" consequences to pulling out of the jail agreement with Warren and Rappahannock counties, Walker said.

"We're certainly obligated for our share of the money that's already been borrowed, $6 million," he said.

Plus, it's likely a court order would be issued requiring the county to honor its commitment to the other two counties, Walker said.

"I think there are enough people in this county [willing] to purse that avenue," Bailey said. "We're ready to cut our losses."

Baroncelli disagreed.

"I don't think the majority of the citizens are against the regional jail," she said.

Five years of study, and the state's willingness to fund up to half the costs of a regional facility, compared to no contribution for a local jail, tipped the case for the three-county jail, according to Baroncelli. She said Sheriff Timothy C. Carter -- a vocal opponent to the regional approach -- told the supervisors at the onset that doing nothing wasn't an option.

"And, what you folks are presenting to us is doing nothing," Baroncelli said.

Bailey accused Baroncelli of categorizing items in the jail needing repair as the reason "you want to spend, right now, $72 million."

"I lived it," she said. "I worked it in this jail. That's not true about the jail failing. The jail is not failing. They're like any other old building in this county."

New Market resident Mark Capozella accused Baroncelli of ignoring the residents.

"You're not being honest," he said. "Maybe you're not being honest with yourself, but you're sure as heck not being honest with the people in this room about the jail. We will see at the election whether you're right or wrong. What's more important...to the Board of Supervisors, a Republican party that's united, or a jail that the majority of the people in this county do not want?"

Hugh Owen, of Mt. Jackson, said both the sheriff and the former captain of the jail are the best qualified to determine whether the current facility is adequate, and they had been set aside. He said he visited the jail many times while volunteering with his church.

"If you're interested in rehabilitating our inmates, the worst thing you can do for them is to ship them off to a big impersonal facility," he said. "If you're really interested in doing what's right, then every single effort should be expended to reverse a bad decision rather than saying we're stuck with it."

Toms Brook resident Mark Prince brought up his long-running battle against District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris -- whose seat he unsuccessfully challenged several years ago -- regarding an alleged conflict of interest on a property deal.

"The issue that I see is trust between the Board of Supervisors and the citizens of Shenandoah County," Prince said.

Baroncelli asked, "It is going to be about Mr. Morris, or do you have a question? This is a personal issue that you have with Mr. Morris."

Prince said a large sporting goods company, REI, didn't locate in the county because county officials didn't inform it that the proposed site was on battlefield land.

"Mr. Prince, I don't think you want to go there with REI," Baroncelli said. "We know who sent REI away, and it wasn't Shenandoah County.

"I'm not doing personal agendas. This is our meeting, and we're talking about [the] budget."

Prince continued to argue with Baroncelli, and then her husband, Andrew, spoke up, although he didn't identify himself.

"That's enough," Andrew Baroncelli said. "Shut the hell up."

He went on to ask questions about jail standards and protocol. Andrew Baroncelli said he had a problem with prisoners being offloaded on the sidewalk outside the jail rather than in a sallyport.

Kevin Whalen asked if a petition would carry any weight. Baroncelli said it would have an impact if the cost estimates have changed to the point they were unaffordable. The residents would have to understand the county would still have to pay the money that's been spent so far and it could be sued by Rappahannock and Warren counties, she said.

Baroncelli said residents could bring petitions.

Whalen questioned what would happen if there were 3,000 signatures on a position.

Walker suggested they "talk reality." The bond vote is Tuesday morning.

"The timing makes this pretty darn awkward," Walker said.


The people deserve every bit of what they get from her. After all, they reelected her. Politicians and diapers need to be changed often and for the same reason.

In most instances, inmates are impersonal (not all, mind ya) anyway.. They are classified as inmates b/c they broke the "rule(s) of law.." Rules are set up to protect and administer justice.. What a chaotic system we would have without rules of justice.. Find a happy medium about the jail issue.. Someone has to make a decision about whether it is in the best interest and growth of our Shenandoah County.. Someone has to be qualified to make that decision... Surely someone has to fit those standards.. God help us if not! Reggie Arno Danville VA..

Wow this article is a major stretch. There was only six people protesting outside and four inside the meeting against the regional jail (two rudely vocal...constantly yelling out without any clear questions). It is obviously a good investment now at only $15m invested to be part of a $90m facility...a surety of this needed service for our future...and it gets our current jail out of our business district.

I am so tired of the rantings and ravings by Mark Prince, Cindy Bailey and Margaret Shruntz. They bring nothing civil to the discourse. For eight years, the BOS has struggled with what to do about the jail which was found after a state inspection to be "overcrowded, poorly designed by present day standards, lacking in sufficient space and in fair to poor condition overall." The recommendation at that time was to renovate and expand or replace. EIGHT years ago.
Belittling, berating and bullying the board of supervisors does nothing to promote your cause. Bailey and Prince, you were rejected by the electorate, probably because of your hate-filled rants. Bring something productive to the table at the right time.
For 20 years, Ed Hoole has been involved with the financial end of local issues. He has both chastised and supported various boards based on financial facts. In the case of the jail he recently wrote: "The State Compensation Board is required to report annually to the General Assembly on jail revenues and expenditures. The report for fiscal year 2008, which was signed off on by Sheriff Carter and County Administrator Polling on May 29, 2009, stated that the operating cost per inmate per day in the Shenandoah County Jail was $65.36, and the average cost in currently established regional jails was $52.94.
"The cost in the newest regional facility, the Middle Regional Jail in Augusta County, was reported to be $52.89 per inmate day and revenues exceeded expenditures by $2 million. In other words, it was operating at a profit. Of the 89 non-urban counties, 69 counties are in regional jails and 20 counties including Shenandoah, Warren and Rappahannock are currently operating their own jails."
We have passed the point of no return on this issue. Moving the jail out of our historic county seat would only help us. No more orange jumpsuits on Main Street. Truly not what a tourist wants to see. And, as a resident of Court Street, not something I enjoy witnessing either.
I urge the "haters" to move on to something else. Preferably in the solitude of their own homes. Leave the ugliness behind your own four walls and stop polluting the county with your vitriolic babble.

Reading this article makes me sad. We have moved way beyond the "Jail" issue. The decision to go with a regional jail was made more than 3 years ago .. and if you would take a moment to look at the numbers and facts you would make the same decision as our BOS. Building a regional jail is a capital improvement project .. and NOT the reason for a tax hike. What is at issue here is the divisive and name-calling nature of a group of people who are bringing a level of bitterness and stagnation into our community. It needs to end .. We need to refocus, move forward and work with our BOS to figure out how to do the county's business. How do we provide the best education for our students, emergency services for our residents and all the other important services that you as citizens have come to expect .. Enough already ...

how about we stop making every little thing illegle and cramming the jails full of non violent offenders?

$89 billion are you flipping kidding me? the for profit prison system is alive and well.

Ms. Baroncelli has a poor memory. The personal property tax rate was raised significantly for County residents about 3 years ago. It's a lot easier remembering the increases when you are on the receiving end.

Jails are suppose to be a deterence. Building a bigger jail just doesn't seem to be meeting that need. What does building a new, bigger jail do for the inmates that need to be rehabilited, and needs help to get their lives back on track to become a more productive citizen who will eventually be put back on the street to do what....? Put the taxpayers money to better use in making a more humanitarian effort would be more deeply appreciated, more productive, less expensive to the community and most of all, a helping hand to the inmates and to the families that are effected by the burden of supporting the family member incarcerated. Giving them 3 hots and a cot in a Taj Ma Hal of Jail facilities (again)... does What?
We should be building smaller jails....So ask yourself what is this all about? Who is really benefiting and who SHOULD be benefiting in this situation. To put more effort into self-help programs and facilities to succeed, seems to be a win win situation. Our elected officials get to make the decissions how to best meet the need to help inmates get the benefit of a chance to live a productive life, a Humanitarian, sensable effort and money better spent...Dont you think?

Really?...because from what I can remember, the only thing that has happened to my property tax in the last 3 years was that it went down $70 after the re-assessment. Sure some people's probably went up...but the tax income to the county stayed the same.

Great point by Miller. The tax itself has not gone up - the assessed value of property has shifted. The supervisors have not wanted to touch the tax for years, but truth be told we are overdue. Which means when it does go up, the jump will be greater because they left it alone instead of moving it incrementally over a longer period of time.

Whoa. I do recall the northern end of the county (Strasburg area) property values being increased while the southern end of the county received no increase a few years back. It was a tactic to raise additional revenue on the end of the county which seemed to be the most prosperous. What a joke that is. Strasburg residents are probably the poorest in the county now, with the Town Council using the residents as their personal piggy bank. Whoops, forgot about all the money the city people bring. Anyway, now, the northern end property is overvalued compared to the southern end. Unless everyone is treated equally in this county, no raise in taxes should be approved. What happened to all the small govt Republicans?

Seaell, that is exactly why we do not need a regional jail....for profit.

It's time the INMATES pay for their incarceration. Charge them $60 a day and then make them pay it back when they get out and get a job. I don't care if it takes their entire life to pay it back. I didn't put them there and I should have to pay through my taxes to keep their sorry behinds in jail.

No that's a deterrent!!!

ther problem you have now AW is that those prison MUST remain filled, thusly we have another round of rights theft to keep them full.

Can i assume you hate paying for the losing drug war too? or is it just the fallout from it?

This is the message that I was trying to get out to the public when I was so rudely interrupted by according to the article Mrs. Baroncelli’s husband.
The issue is a lack of trust and the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors and County Citizens
Why do I say this and what has lead me to this decision?
It started during Mrs. Baroncelli first term as a supervisor and if I remember correctly she was serving on the Economic Development. “The following are substantiated facts”.
A few years ago and even to this date, The Board of Supervisors sanctioned and condoned these actions, because not once has there been any message to the contrary. Charles Maddox while on the Economic Development directed Recreational Equipment Incorporated towards a property that he had just purchased in Toms Brook, sought and received an offer for incentives at $300,000 from Shenandoah County. This actually released a total of 1.85 million dollars of State and Local funds to help improve Maddox’s property for REI. (FOIA Document) Maddox voted and participated in Closed Sessions which are clearly documented while they were seeking these incentives. The Economic Development never told REI that they were designing and building on a section National Battlefield and didn’t offer them any other sites in our county. Yes, they actually withheld this vital information from the environmentally conscious company and didn’t offer them other options in Shenandoah County, which I feel is why we lost this important business opportunity. Again all of this information was traced through FOIA documents. When the State Economic Development was informed about REI building on the National Battlefield location they were extremely upset. I visited them and FOIA’d about 500 documents from them a few weeks after the decision was made by REI. At this time they were allowed to tell me what the company’s name was and ONLY THEN did I know who the company was.
I brought this information to the BOS and they told me in a letter that if I believed that a law was broken I should report it to the proper authorities. In the Marines this was called “shut your mouth and close ranks”
During the subsequent years, I was keeping track of the Toms Brook property owned by Maddox because I live almost adjacent to the property. When I heard rumblings of a Regional Jail being placed on it and that Morris appointed himself) to the Regional Jail Committee(this was verified during a later Deposition) it caused me concern. Documents show that 2 properties were required by each county and the only site selected was the Toms Brook site! I started researching and FOIA’d additional documents from Sheriff Carter and Vince Poling the then County Administrator about the placement of the Regional Jail in Toms Brook. I only received a few vague documents from Poling. The Sheriff sent some letters and plats showing the placement of a Regional Jail in Toms Brook . These documents were addressed to the County Administrator from Maddox and I submitted a second FOIA request to Poling being very specific as to what I was looking for. He responded that he didn’t have any such documents. I went to the Sheriff and asked him where he received these documents and he told me that he had received them at a Regional Jail Committee meeting from Vince Poling. The following week I filed a FOIA violation against the Shenandoah County BOS. I lost this case because I had to prove that Poling had these in his possession at the time of the request. “I am sure they were conveniently removed from the Regional Jail folder so I couldn’t get them and use them in my fight against the Regional Jail”
During the FOIA trial I couldn’t ask the Sheriff to testify because he came down with Pneumonia, but decided to press on and when we lost the first trial we appealed the case at which time the county government asked for depositions which allowed me to interview Supervisors and other employees. During this process, I learned that a prior Supervisor was very concerned about a Conflict of Interest that had transpired in the Economic Development with Maddox; additionally we learned that the Conflict of Interest investigation that was supposed to have been conducted by Harrisonburg was not really conducted because they did not subpoena any documents or called any people to testify from Shenandoah County (this is in a actual letter from Marsha Garst). When Supervisor Morris testified under oath, he stated twice that he had no financial ties with Charles Maddox or his companies when actually he sold his properties for over $320,000 in Strasburg to a company called Early Dove which is a Charles Maddox company. This land transaction transpired at the same time Morris and the Board of Supervisors were offering the incentives to Maddox. Perjury by an elected official is cause for removal from office. (Virginia State Law).
Poling elected to retire and is now working part time in the Economic Development with Benefits.
During all of the above, not once has anyone been sanctioned/fired or prosecuted. And they want me to trust them to make the right decision for me? Think Again!

No wonder you were interrupted, Mr. Prince. You came to a town hall meeting about the county and school budget. Hijacking the podium for a personal vendetta is not cool.

Wow...With immature, pointless and petty bickering such as displayed here, there is no wonder we nothing gets done in the Valley.

If this is the same type of logic and rationale these people use to raise their children, we'll need a bigger jail.

These people must be Republicans...who else would be leading such baseless, resource wasting arguments...?

The actual cost of the Regional Jail is going to be $89,085,000 and not the 72 million that the BOS has been touting. This is the total amount the government is going to borrow and is found on page 19 of their Regional Jail Document dated Oct 27, 2011. The states share is $32,578,739 at 45 percent of authorized costs and not the 50%. If you subtract the states share and multiply the rest by our pro rata share of 36.7% that makes our cost for the Regional Jail $20,734,494.00. This is incredibly more than your $15 million being spoken of so do your due diligence like the BOS should have done to begin with. I have the documents and you can call me or meet with me anytime to discuss this.

I honestly don't understand the resistance to the regional jail. I have worked in a regional jail for over twenty years. We have many plans in place to help the inmates while they are incarcerated. They can get their GED. There are AA and NA meetings they can attend. There is a drug program. Our inmates pay a portion of their medical costs and they pay a dollar a day while they are here. I can't understand why people think it will be impersonal. They obviously have never been to one of the regional jails. What about the fact that so many good jobs would be created in our community? We need these jobs. I think people should educate themselves a little more about what a regional jail actually is before they get so bent out of shape about it. I would not have traded my twenty plus years "in jail" for any other job.

Also, I really resent the Sharon Baroncelli bashing. I know her personally and she is a wonderful person with a beautiful family. I can only imagine that her husband felt he needed to protect her and that is why he spoke up in her defense. According to the board, a decision has already been made. Get over it, move on and stop the personal attacks.

Thanks Mark, sounds like you did your homework and I wish there would have been more support from our courts, but then again look at Judge Logan!

It's not so much that we are against a regional jail, if Mrs. Baroncelli and the rest of the good old boy and girl cronies hadn't felt the need to build yet another court house and administration building on the tax payers backs maybe the jail would not be the straw that broke the camel's back.

I haven't lived in Fairfax County since 1992 and the last election I voted on was in 1991 but all the years I did live and vote there no county project was entered into without VOTER approval. The citizens of the county would have the question "Should Shenandoah County sell bonds and contract for a debt of X$ to build a new courthouse"? If the vote was no it DID NOT happen. And notice they sold bonds to finance it, NOT RAISE TAXES.

Thank god I didn't spend all those years since 1992 in this county where six good old boys and girls can spend the taxpayer dollars anyway they wish with out getting voter approval.

Maybe Mrs. Baroncelli is a "wonderful person with a beautiful family" but she is an out right liar, my appraisal on a 1960's ranch with no renovations or additions in Mt Olive went from $129,000 to $198,000 in 2008 in the height of the recession. I took photos of the leaks, interior and exterior and the reappraised it to $187,900. So she is telling a FAT lie that the county did not raise taxes. If she can lie straight out or has such a poor memory that she can't remember it, she needs to be voted out of office and spend more time with her "beautiful family"

Better yet why don't all the supervisors surrender their county paychecks for the remainder of their terms to help finance all the spending they have been doing and want to continue doing?

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