Middletown leaders fill council vacancy

By Alex Bridges

MIDDLETOWN — Middletown Town Council picked a new member Monday to fill a vacancy until an election in November.

Council voted at its regular meeting to appoint Carolyn S. Aliff to the position formerly held by Mary Shull, who resigned recently to move back to Strasburg.

Prior to voting on an appointment, council heard from Aliff and George J. Smith as to why each wanted to sit on the panel. Both residents said they wanted to get involved in the town government.

Aliff grew up in Fauquier County but moved to Middletown seven years ago. She worked for the Virginia Department of Transportation for 13 years before switching to consulting for a construction firm in the private sector.

Smith has lived in Frederick County for 23 years, the last four in Middletown, and has worked for Trex Company as an engineer and in research and development.

Mayor Charles H. Harbaugh IV had council members write their choice from the candidates on a slip of paper. Aliff received the most votes. Council then voted 5-0 on a motion to appoint Aliff to the board.

Aliff first must be sworn in by Frederick County Circuit Court Clerk Rebecca Hogan before she can take the council seat. Aliff likely would take the position in time to participate in council’s meeting next week.

Harbaugh explained to the candidates that they also may seek to run for the council seat in a special election Nov. 5. The winner of the election then would serve out the remaining two years of the term.

Earlier at the meeting council lauded Elizabeth McClung for her years of service leading the Belle Grove Plantation. Harbaugh presented McClung with a flag that flew over the state capitol. The resolution noted McClung’s service as executive director from 1997 through June 2011 with her appointment as president. The resolution cites accomplishments during her tenure that include ownership of a second historic site — Bowman’s Fort — and plantation holdings that have nearly tripled from 100 acres to 283 acres. McClung also launched the new Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, helped draft the legislation that created the site and served on its federal advisory commission.

The resolution also lauds McClung for promoting Middletown and the area through the various activities at the plantation.

“Middletown has always been there for Belle Grove,” McClung said.

Also at the meeting, council:

  • Approved on a third and final reading the town’s fiscal 2014 budget of just over $1.7 million, $42,733 of which will come from reserves
  • Approved a motion to pay Michele Fishel $13 an hour, with a maximum of five hours a month, to conduct the monthly Planning Commission meeting. Councilwoman Donna M.G. Gray voted against the motion.
  • Approved a motion to pay Fred Wharton $25 an hour on an as-needed basis to approve and sign off on permits for the town
  • Approved a motion pertaining to employee contributions to the Virginia Retirement System
  • Approved a resolution to adopt the 2012 Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan required of municipalities to receive state and federal compensation for disaster relief

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com