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Warren County mourns commissioner's passing

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John W. Smedley

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By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

A long-serving Warren County elected official died Friday, less than a year into his seventh term.

Commissioner of Revenue John H. Smedley Sr. died at Winchester Medical Center, according to a press release from County Administrator Douglas Stanley. Smedley, 64, won re-election to the term in November. He first started serving in the constitutional office in January 1988.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Archie A. Fox, a long-time friend, ordered all flags at county facilities to fly at half-staff until further notice in recognition of Smedley's contributions, according to the release.

"I've known John since childhood and so I always considered him a very good friend and he was a very good person and he was just an absolute great commissioner of revenue," Fox said by phone Monday.

Fox, as chairman for the past six years, noted that he and the board worked closely with Smedley. Fox said he didn't know if Smedley had any health issues before his death.

Smedley served as a member of the Virginia Association of Assessing Officers, the Commissioner of the Revenue Association of Virginia, the Virginia Association of Local Elected Constitutional Officers, the West Central Commissioner of Revenue Association, the Virginia Association of Local Tax Auditors, the Izaak Walton League and the Warren County Republican Committee. Smedley also was a past member of the Rotary Club of Front Royal and of the Front Royal-Warren County Jaycees, according to the release.

The county now faces the task of filling the office at least temporarily. County Attorney Blair D. Mitchell explained that, under state law, should such a vacancy arise, the next highest ranking employee, in this case Sherry T. Sours, chief deputy of the office, would serve as commissioner in the interim until the county can hold a special election for the position "promptly." Mitchell noted the code does not define "promptly."

State code does state the county board of supervisors should, within 15 days of the vacancy occurring, petition the circuit court for entering an order scheduling a special election to fill the position, according to Mitchell. The attorney's office is preparing those documents for supervisors to address at their Sept. 4 meeting, Mitchell said. The process leaves the selection of the date of the election to the judge.

1 Comment

I met mr. Smedley for the first time a long time ago, when we spoke because basically the redskin cap I was wearing when i was walking along main street front royal. I never knew him that good, but we usually spoke for that time after with or without my redskin memorabilia. He seemed like a genuine person. God bless him and his family.

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