Frederick County administrator quits

The head Frederick County government has quit two days after her annual review.

County Administrator Brenda G. Garton resigned effective Friday, according to Public Information Officer Karen Vacchio. Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles S. DeHaven Jr. accepted Garton’s resignation, Vacchio stated in a short press release issued Friday. Vacchio advised the media that Garton would not return phone calls or other inquiries as she has no further comment. Garton submitted her resignation letter Thursday.

Deputy County Administrator for Human Services Jay Tibbs will serve as acting county administrator until the Board of Supervisors appoints an interim replacement for Garton at a special meeting called for 8 a.m. Wednesday. The board plans to discuss the interim appointment behind closed doors before taking action in open session.

Supervisors met in closed session Wednesday, three hours before its regular meeting, to discuss personnel matters, specifically the annual evaluations of the county administrator and County Attorney Roderick Williams. The closed session last for about three hours, during which time the board discussed the personnel matters and the possible disposition and/or acquisition of property, Vacchio said.

Garton’s resignation comes two days after her review. It remains uncertain if the board intended to give Garton a favorable review and would renew her contract or if supervisors and the administrator agreed to part ways. Discussions on personnel matters are protected and exempt from public disclosure per the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The county would not provide a copy of Garton’s resignation letter to the Northern Virginia Daily because it is deemed a personnel record exempt from disclosure by the Freedom of Information Act, Vacchio said.

Garton’s employment agreement dated March 11, 2015, which took effect May 18, 2015, includes terms for her voluntary resignation. The contract states Garton may terminate the agreement by giving written notice at least three months prior to the effective date of her resignation. However, the Board of Supervisors can waive any part or all of the three month notice requirement, the agreement states.

The board hired Garton at the contract salary of $175,000 plus up to $7,500 in moving expenses plus $5,000 in deferred compensation annually.

Garton served two years in the post, having replaced longtime county administrator John Riley Jr., who retired in January 2015. Garton took over in May 2015. Garton had 20 years experience in local government management.

A quote attributed to Garton in the news release states: “It is time for a new chapter in my life. For the past two years, it has been my honor and pleasure to work with the Frederick County Board of Supervisors, with the excellent staff of Frederick County, and for the benefit of the citizens of Frederick County. I sincerely wish all good things for the Board and the County moving forward.”