Chair chides county administrator, invoking Willie Nelson and H.L. Mencken
In an email to the Planning Commission on Friday, Chair David Konick informed his colleagues that “due to a failure to comply with FOIA notice requirements,” the special meeting scheduled for Monday, Oct. 19 “has to be cancelled.”
The Planning Commission was scheduled to hold a special meeting concurrent with the Board of Supervisors special meeting on Monday at the courthouse to discuss the comprehensive plan, but notice of the meeting was not posted until Thursday. The Virginia code compels public bodies to notify the public “at least three working days prior to the meeting.”
On Oct. 9, Konick called for the special session of the Planning Committee to be scheduled and asked Zoning Administrator Michelle Somers to “mail each member of the Commission a notice as provided by law by not later than Monday, October 12, 2020 and also to make sure the appropriate FOIA notice is given and posted in two public places by at least COB Tuesday, October 13, 2020 in accordance with Code § 2.2-3707.”
Notice of the meeting was not posted until after midnight on Wednesday.
In an email dated Friday, Oct. 16, Konick wrote that he was “astounded” by the failure to give adequate advanced notice, Konick stating that “if more than three Commission members appear at Monday’s meeting whereat public business (the Comp Plan) within the Commission’s jurisdiction is to be discussed, that would constitute ‘a meeting’ of the Commission.”
“Since Ron Frazier is a member of the Planning Commission and I assume [will] be present as a member of the BoS,” Konick continued, “if one other Commission member (besides me) shows up on Monday, it may be an illegal meeting.”
Konick went on in the email to request that no other members of the Commission attend Monday’s meeting and that “if any of them chose to disobey this request and attend the BoS work session, then at a minimum, I request that they do not speak or otherwise participate.”
Doing so, Konick explained, would result in the “possibility of civil penalties of $500 plus attorney’s fees for any member of a public body who knowing and willful violates VFOIA.”
Concluding the lengthy email, Konick wrote “I see no useful purpose to be served by speculating as to why the required notices were not issued in a timely fashion or whether this was deliberate or simply an innocent oversight on someone’s part. ‘What is done is done’ as they say, and the corollary to that is ‘what is not done, ain’t done.’”
In an emailed response, County Administrator Garrey Curry apologized for his role in the error, adding “no excuse is sufficient.”
“Note that the Board [of Supervisors] is not positioned to adopt the comprehensive plan on Monday because the proper resolutions have not been prepared and VDOT has not yet reviewed the transportation plan,” Curry continued. “To this extent, rest assured, the topic will remain open for discussion.”
The email chain doesn’t end there.
Responding to Curry, Konick wrote that the apology was “duly accepted” and included a link to Willie Nelson’s “It’s Hard To Be Humble” music video on YouTube, writing “almost everyone except me and Wille Nelson makes a mis-steak once in a while.”
Konick continued: “And with Lauren [May] out for the day, it would be unreasonable to expect you to be at the top of your game. I don’t think she gets enough credit for all she does, and the man (or woman) at the top is only as good as his or her support staff.”
Quoting H.L. Mencken, Konick wrote: “The caveman is all muscles and mush. Without a woman to rule him and think for him, he is a truly lamentable spectacle: a baby with whiskers, a rabbit with the frame of an aurochs, a feeble and preposterous caricature of God.”
“Maybe you should print that quotation out and pin it up on the inside of your office door,” Konick added.