FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors may consider during its 7 p.m. meeting today whether county money should be used to fund the legal defenses related to their dismissed misdemeanor charges.
In September, all five supervisors, County Administrator Doug Stanley and former EDA and County Attorney Dan Whitten were among the 14 current and former county officials charged on misdemeanor counts of misfeasance and nonfeasance related to alleged lack of oversight of former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.
In October, Warren County Circuit Court Judge Bruce D. Albertson dismissed the charges, saying that misfeasance and nonfeasance are not crimes in Virginia.
Before the charges were dismissed, the supervisors during an October meeting delayed voting on whether county money should be used to fund the defenses of themselves, Stanley and Whitten.
That vote was delayed until December but it may be reconsidered tonight as the meeting's agenda states that there will be a “Request to Reconsider Motion to Postpone Discussion on the Hiring of Legal Counsel" for the supervisors, Stanley and Whitten. Supervisors Clerk Emily Mounce explained that this motion must be approved before the matter is reconsidered. If the motion passes, she said she is not sure if the matter will be discussed today.
The supervisors' agenda does not include a detailed summary of the motion as it does for all other matters coming before the board on Tuesday.
Regarding the county's right to fund the legal fees, Stanley previously cited Virginia Code section 15.2-1520, which states that a locality can fund officials' legal expenses if they relate to "duties in serving the locality." He also cited 15.2-1521, which states a locality can reimburse officials' legal expenses upon being found innocent.
Regardless of how the board votes, Supervisor Tom Sayre has said on multiple occasions that he will not use taxpayer money to fund his defense.
Also on Tuesday, the supervisors will enter a closed session for consultation with legal counsel “regarding the provision of legal counsel” related to the EDA and personnel matters related to the Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center.