FRONT ROYAL – Members of the Board of Supervisors and Town Council will hash out problems related to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority during their first joint meeting on the subject at the Warren County Community Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
During a July town-county liaison meeting — during which Supervisors Chairman Dan Murray, Interim Mayor Matt Tederick and Councilman Gary Gillispie were present — it was decided that the entirety of both boards should be present during EDA-related discussions.
These discussions are occurring after the EDA in March filed a $17.6 million civil lawsuit against the authority’s former executive director Jennifer McDonald and eight co-defendants with a series of allegations outlining the misappropriation or embezzlement of credit lines reserved for town or county projects.
During the July liaison meeting, Tederick pointed out that a March 1991 agreement states the town would be entitled to half of the EDA’s property if the authority were dissolved.
Tederick said over the phone Monday that the topic of dissolution will surely be broached during Tuesday’s joint meeting and noted that he is not sure of the exact steps needed to dissolve the authority and that he does not have any “preconceived end game” regarding what should happen to the EDA.
“We need to go through this process as a community and figure out what the future looks like,” he said.
Tederick noted that there are a “tremendous amount of unanswered questions” and “a lack of information on how to go about reforming the EDA.” He said officials need to have discussions to determine the next steps.
He added that his hopes for the joint meeting are for discussions of the EDA’s future and how elected officials can play a role in reshaping or dissolving the EDA, whichever is “in the best interest of the community.”
Tederick said it should be noted that every elected official sees the need for economic development. While no one is trying to hinder future economic development, he said there are a lot of ways to accomplish it, some of which may involve the EDA in some capacity and some that may not.
Tederick said he would also like to discuss the appointment of committees that would examine the EDA’s policies and procedures.
He added that this is the first of what should be many joint meetings, which he has suggested be held every two weeks because “that’s how much of an issue I believe it is.”
Also at the meeting, Tederick said EDA Executive Director Douglas Parsons is expected to give a presentation.
County Administrator Doug Stanley said over the phone Monday morning the meeting’s agenda was not completed but said it would include EDA-related discussions.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Murray said over the phone Monday that the meeting will “be a general discussion on an issue” but declined to say more until the agenda is finalized.
Tederick said that he and Murray met regarding potential agenda items and while they agreed on certain discussions that should be held, they did not necessarily agree on the path forward.
He added that if officials go into the discussions with an open mind, the town and county have an opportunity to reshape, reform and move forward with economic development.