Leesburg Mayor Attempts to Appoint Town Manager in Secret Leesburg NOVA

Leesburg, VA Monday 11-18-2013

The Leesburg Mayor with help from some of Town Council seeks to appoint it’s next town executive in secret with no public hearing.

After John Wells, town manager for Leesburg since 2004, announced his retirement effective at the end of his contract – October, 2014, the Council met in secret last week to appoint Scott Parker, the assistant Town Manager.

Most towns with an annual budget of $90 Million would at least hold a comment period before appointing a new Town Manager who wields the reins on spending, and the day to day operations of Leesburg, Virginia, Population 42,000 and the seat of Loudoun County, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States.

Leesburg Mayor Kristen C. Umstattd has decided to do an end around the normal democratic process by making the decision unilaterally without opening the topic for discussion, giving the other Council Members a fait accompli. Having made the decision without benefit of a vote, Umstattd then decided to hold the supposed “discussion” in private session entirely excluding the public, or any input citizens of Leesburg.

The Council was complicate with Umstattd. All agreed to her plan to conduct meetings in secret. That is all Council Members but one.

Council Members agreed except for Tom Dunn, Leesburg who abstained and declined to participate in such a vote, stating that the process would be discrimination against any other potential candidates.

Umstattd has been mayor of Leesburg multiple times, having held 5 two year terms since 2002.

Manager John Wells, Leesburg’s Manager submits budget proposals which are voted on and passed by the Town Council over which Umstattd presides. Should she wish to run for mayor of Leesburg again, Unstattd will foreseeably be Mayor in Leesburg for a total of 14 years, and her empirical decision to appoint Scott Parker as the new Town Manager resembles something more akin to a dictatorship, than an open democratic process which she can be proud to have overseen.

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