FRONT ROYAL – After blasting the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority in previous Board of Supervisors meetings, resident Mark Egger berated county officials again Tuesday over their handling of controversies swirling around the agency.

Egger said during a regular Tuesday meeting that the county needs to replace EDA board members Greg Drescher and Ron Llewellyn.

The EDA has been the focal point of a slew of controversies, including $291,000 owed to the town and misrepresenting that a low-interest loan had been closed for a series of construction projects.

The EDA’s audit has also taken three months longer than usual to complete and the county has paid a private financial consultant $160,000 and approved up to $100,000 for representation from an outside legal firm.

The four-year terms of Drescher and Llewellyn, the EDA’s longest-tenured board members, expired at the end of February.

County and EDA attorney Dan Whitten previously explained that if the supervisors do not appoint new members or reappoint Drescher and Llewellyn, the two will remain on the board until an appointment is made.

Egger said allowing people “who helped cause this mess” to remain is “downright stupid.”

He noted that the narrative being conveyed is that all of the blame should be placed upon Jennifer McDonald, the former EDA executive director who resigned in December. That notion, he said, is “hogwash.”

Egger said that when his daughter, former town councilwoman B{span}é{/span}bhinn Egger, questioned some EDA projects, a response signed by Drescher stated that she works under the board’s direction and no significant decisions are made without board approval.

“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say ‘we approve of everything Jennifer McDonald does’ and then now say, ‘it’s all Jennifer McDonald’s fault,’” he said.

Egger also noted a July 2017 letter from the board to the Front Royal Police Department, signed by Drescher, asking that police cease an investigation into an EDA office break-in.

According to previous reports, that letter stated: “The Board of Directors of the Economic Development Authority discussed during closed session the investigation regarding the EDA office building that is currently being conducted by the Front Royal Police Department. The EDA hired a Private Investigator to assist in the investigation and we are now requesting the Front Royal Police Department put the investigation on inactive status.”

Egger asked if the supervisors thought someone who would write a letter obstructing a police investigation has the desired qualities of a board member.

He also noted a check signed by Drescher and McDonald on June 6, 2017, to retain a private investigator regarding the EDA office break-in.

McDonald also wrote a check on June 6, 2017, reimbursing the EDA for hiring the private investigator. Whitten said that check, however, was not deposited until August.

Egger asked whether McDonald’s check was really written on June 6 or if it was written when the EDA board realized the “hot water they were in by hiring a private investigator and obstructing a police investigation.”

He further asked: If McDonald indeed hired a private investigator on June 6, why did the EDA board write a check for her personal expense?

“Doesn’t make sense does it? And you all think these actions demonstrate the type of thinking you want of someone on the EDA board?” he asked.

Egger also noted that Llewellyn recently suggested it may be time for the EDA to meet with the developer of ITFederal, which broke ground over three years ago and has not opened. Egger said his daughter long ago questioned the situation.

If there are new EDA appointments, Egger said, they should be discussed in open meetings, and there is no reason or law to vet the candidates in closed sessions as has been done in the past.

“The people would like to see how you decide who gets appointed to the EDA board. Does word come down from on high? Or perhaps you consult the oracle of Delphi,” he said.

Supervisors Dan Murray, Tony Carter, Linda Glavis, Tom Sayre and Archie Fox all declined to comment on Egger’s comments.

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