Culpeper County's Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to take action against Culpeper County's Commonwealth Attorney following statements Megan Frederick made last month.
In an email to supporters in September, Frederick said that the two supervisors who supported her, Larry Aylor and Brad Rosenberger, lost the battle over county funding of the new $1.5 million Culpeper County Sheriff's Office building because of "incompetent and corrupt members of the board."
That ruffled the feathers of the other five members of the board, and during Tuesday's monthly BOS meeting, they responded.
The board voted 5-2, with Aylor and Rosenberger voting against the measures, to send Frederick a letter asking her to rescind her comments and also to send a letter to the Virginia Bar Association asking the organization to look into the situation.
Culpeper County BOS chairwoman Sue Hansohn put the issue on the budget early in the meeting, and said that the statements were troubling.
"It's very disturbing," Hansohn said. "No one on this board is corrupt."
Hansohn said that the perception of corruption is a major issue, especially when the comments are being made by the Commonwealth's Attorney.
"I think it's very serious," Hansohn said. "I think it needs to go to a higher level."
Salem District supervisor Alexa Fritz said that she would like to see the board send a letter to Frederick asking for her to take back the comments.
"She stood behind her comment and I would like to see her rescind her statement," Fritz said.
Stevensburg District supervisor Bill Chase was troubled by the comments and pointed out that if there is corruption then charges needed to be filed.
"The word corruption really bothers me," Chase said. "I don't feel anyone is corrupt. If they are, you are required to file charges."
Other supervisors pointed out the public has the right to have their opinions, but it is a more serious matter when the county's top law enforcement agency's head is making accusations.
"Certainly people have the right to criticize and the right to be critical of the board," West Fairfax supervisor Steve Nixon said. "If there's corruption there needs to be charges or an investigation. It hurts economic development."
"It may not have been something she meant to do in a harmful way," Nixon said.
Nixon suggested the board seek counsel from the county's attorney Sandra Robinson on how to proceed.
"I feel very offended to be called corrupt," East Fairfax supervisor Steve Walker said.
Aylor and Rosenberger both advised proceeding with caution on the matter.
"I received the email and it was part shocking and part flattering," Aylor said. "We need to think about this and the impact it has on our community. We should call the person in to have a 1-on-1 before we start passing judgement. It wasn't meant to be put on the public. I don't like things that have a negative impact on this community."
Rosenberger said he was not aware of the email until he was called by a local newspaper for a comment.
"I have not seen the email," Rosenberger said. "I can't speak to the email. I don't have a dog in this fight. I do like Alexa's idea of writing a letter."
In other board action:
» The board voted 7-0 to change their vote on supporting a study for a connector road for Stafford and Spotsylvania counties that would pass through eastern Culpeper County.
Chase brought the discussion back up, following last month's approval of the study. Since then, Culpeper County has been asked for financial assistance, Chase said, and that changes his vote.
"There is no benefit to Culpeper County and we lose control," Chase said. "We should write the Spotsylvania board and tell them we no longer support (the study)."
At September's meeting, David Ross of the Spotsylvania BOS, asked for the Culpeper County board to support a resolution for a study. At the time, he said no funds would be needed. Since then, Culpeper's board received a request for funding.
"How it was portrayed has changed," said Rosenberger. "The deal was they were not looking for financial support."
The board approved the vote to reconsider 7-0 and then approved a motion against the plan by a 7-0 vote.