Dear Citizens of Albemarle,
Why did I vote “no” on February 6 to a surprise board resolution to demand immediate removal of a sitting supervisor? Citizens have asked, “How can I, as a mother and grandmother, participate in government with someone whose behavior and integrity is in question?” There are legal, electoral, and personal reasons to this answer.
Regarding the legal part, a commonwealth’s attorney decided the charge that was brought against Mr. Dumler, and a commonwealth’s attorney decided to recommend a plea bargain that resulted in a plea to a misdemeanor by Mr. Dumler that was accepted by the court. Decisions were made by officials with more information and training in this area than I possess. The board of supervisors is not a judge or jury in this case. We must rely on the legal system for those decisions.
The electoral part is one of process. The reason boards of supervisors do not have the right to remove a colleague is to protect the voters of a district from losing their elected representative due to the will of an outside majority with an agenda.
It is up to the voters of the Scottsville district, in this particular circumstance, to request the court to remove its supervisor. The petition process is underway. The petition will be delivered to the circuit court, who will decide if the circumstances meet the legal requirements to proceed. If so, a commonwealth’s attorney will proceed with the case for removal, and then a trial can occur. The reason for this process is to protect the right of the district’s citizens to initiate the removal of their representative if the circumstances justify that removal.
Now the personal part. I work deliberately; I will not rush to judgment. In this case the facts available to the general public are few, yet I wrote a motion which I feel is adamant in its expectations of behavior.
After providing this motion to my colleagues in advance, I presented it on February 6 at the beginning of the supervisors meeting. The motion was seconded by Dennis Rooker and adopted 5 – 0. It reads as follows:
“The Board of Supervisors has no authority to remove someone from office who has been properly elected by the voters.
However, the Board may condemn the inappropriate behavior of a Board member that violates the values of the Board and is unbecoming for a member of this Board.
Mr. Dumler has admitted guilt and has pled guilty to a serious crime that no one on this Board condones.
Therefore, I move that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors censure Mr. Dumler for his inappropriate conduct that resulted in his conviction of a misdemeanor. The purpose of the censure is to affirm, on the record, our disapproval of his behavior and to admonish him for the discredit his actions have brought to this Board.”
The personal part is also anger and sadness that any behavior would put a victim in danger of harm or would damage the county or its citizens. My instinct, as a mother, a grandmother, and as a county supervisor, is one of a protector.
I understand citizens want this resolved immediately, and some support a quick removal of Mr. Dumler from the board.
In a crisis, our process is what pulls us together and helps the county resolve an issue. Then there can be no recriminations about outside influence or personal agendas to cloud the result. Then the county will be able to move forward.
Thank you for your continued concern for the County and its governance.
White Hall district