Transparency News 4/12/18

April 12, 2018
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state & local news stories
Two localities face trouble from hired experts whose credentials or past histories were not thoroughly examined.
Two Danville police officers shot at Juan Markee Jones when he suddenly whipped around with his arms outstretched following a tense confrontation early Sunday — one officer with two years on the force and the other with five years. As is procedure during officer-involved shootings in the city, the Danville Police Department released the names of the two officers on Wednesday.
Register & Bee

A night that began with city leaders voicing disparate views about the upcoming city budget ended with a debate over a failed economic development contract. Bristol Virginia City Councilman Doug Fleenor was sharply critical of the city’s former arrangement with consultant Jim Bourey, who billed the city for $25,000 after the arrangement ended earlier this year. The City Council retained Bourey last fall to assist with economic development efforts.  Bourey’s stint as city manager for Newport News ended when he resigned from the post in March 2017 amid controversy at that city’s airport authority. The authority’s actions were scrutinized by three different state agencies, including the Virginia State Police and Auditor of Public Accounts. An Oct. 24 Bristol Herald Courier story detailed those circumstances. According to Fleenor, the council wasn’t aware of the controversy when it hired Bourey. “My question about paying $25,000, and I remember the discussion we had upstairs when we talked about it. [Bourey said,] ‘I don’t need the money. I don’t need my mileage paid for. I don’t need my hotel room paid for.’ I thought, man, that’s my kind of guy,” Fleenor said. “I don’t know, as limited a period of time as he was here, how he can justify 25 grand.” In response, City Manager Randy Eads said Bourey didn’t itemize the bill.
Bristol Herald Courier

Town of Purcellville officials on Wednesday released a summary of findings related to investigations into town management that have cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars. Former Interim Town Manager Alex Vanegas, who has been on paid administrative leave for all of 2018, has been fired, and Town Attorney Sally Hankins and Human Resources Manager Sharon Rauch have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Chief of Police Cynthia McAlister remains on paid administrative leave. The initial inquiries and investigations began after several members of the Purcellville Police Department complained about Chief McAlister to Vanegas last summer. Vanegas then hired a local woman who touted herself as a human resources professional to conduct the investigation into the police chief. That woman, Georgia Nuckolls, had a previous criminal history that involved convictions for fraud and forgery. Key findings of Wednesday's report found that the Nuckolls investigation “should be disregarded in its entirety.” “Phase 1 of the audit into the investigation by Georgia Nuckolls focused on evaluating the methodologies and processes used by Nuckolls to investigate the complaints against Chief McAlister.  Vanegas hired Nuckolls to conduct the investigation despite failing to confirm her credentials. She was paid $13,125 by the town for her work.
Loudoun Times-Mirror

As budget talks heat up in Danville, the Star-Tribune took an in-depth look at the salaries of employees through a FOIA request. For the 2018-19 budget year, some proposals that City Manager Ken Larking included was an increased meals tax and a near two percent raise for city employees. The meals tax would increase from six to seven percent. The proposal could raise an estimated $1.2 million for the city. The numbers below reflect salaries $50,000 and above broken down by department in ascension.