Demand grows for Dumler's departure; state code silent on issue - The Daily Progress: News

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Demand grows for Dumler's departure; state code silent on issue

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 8:16 pm

Earl Smith said he isn't judging Albemarle Supervisor Christopher J. Dumler; he just wants him to resign. Smith has lived in Dumler's Scottsville district since the 1970s, he told the supervisors on Wednesday.

"I don't hold anything against the man. I'm just doing what's proper," Smith said. "It's not that he has done anything wrong in my eyes. I just don't feel our leaders should be in a position to where they should be able to [commit crimes]."

Smith said he knows his petition may be a long shot.

Per state code section 24.2-233, to remove Dumler, a court must decide his conviction had a "material adverse effect" on his ability to serve as a supervisor. The statute also allows the court to remove officials for drug-related misdemeanors or hate crimes.

The code says nothing about misdemeanor sex crimes.

"I would hope this works, and ... that's why I made the statement of, I'm going to do this the way I have been told [by state officials]," Smith said. "The way [the petition] reads, I'm going with 'misuse of office.'"

The code section states that a court may remove an elected official under petition by at least 10 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the last election for that seat.

Smith told the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday that he had nearly enough signatures on his petition to begin a court proceeding to try to remove Dumler, 27, from the board. 

By statute, the board cannot remove Dumler unless he was convicted of a felony, or a crime for which he would have to register as a sex offender.

In the Scottsville district in 2011, 3,719 voters came to the polls. That means Smith's petition would need 372 signatures. He would not release how many signatures he had obtained by press time.

During Wednesday's meeting, the board voted unanimously to censure Dumler and 3-2 in support of the petition to remove him. Supervisors Dennis S. Rooker and Ann H. Mallek dissented on the petition vote. Dumler abstained from both votes.

Both the State Board of Elections and Fluvanna County Commonwealth's Attorney Jeffrey W. Haislip declined to comment on whether the petition to remove Dumler would work.

Another day brought another demand for Dumler's resignation.

The Sexual Assault Resource Agency called on the youngest supervisor in county history to resign a day after fellow supervisors and the public lambasted him.

"The Sexual Assault Resource Agency calls on Albemarle County Supervisor Christopher J. Dumler to immediately resign his post following his plea of guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery," the agency said in a release. "By his own admission, he has sexually abused at least one woman against her will. This is a serious crime and a violation of the trust the community placed in him by electing him to office."

Dumler, the youngest supervisor in county history, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery last week. He was charged with felony forcible sodomy in October, and struck a plea deal a week after two more accusers came forward.

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