Transparency News, 5/5/2022



May 5, 2022

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Recently terminated Montgomery County school Superintendent Mark Miear announced this week he received the Region 6 Superintendent of the Year award from the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, a twist in what’s been an intriguing several weeks. The recent announcement of the accolade came well over a month after the Montgomery County School Board unanimously and formally terminated Miear without cause. Board members have since declined to openly discuss the reasons for the firing, as well as divulge details related to any severance pay Miear is set to receive. Miear has declined to talk about his termination, but did offer some comments on his regional superintendent award. 
The Roanoke Times

In emails obtained by 7News, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) told Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Scott Ziegler and the school district's deputy superintendent in October that VDOE learned through news stories that criminal charges were filed against a student at Stone Bridge High School for sexual assault against another student and that LCPS did not report the incident to the state as required by law. Six days after being notified by the VDOE, Loudoun County Deputy Superintendent Ashley Ellis replied to the VDOE acknowledging LCPS did not report the incident to the state --- claiming it was reported immediately to local law enforcement.

The Alleghany County Board of Supervisors interviewed candidates for the new consolidated school board, heard teachers from Clifton Middle School plea to save their school and conducted other business on May 3 and 4. The meeting that began at 7:00 p.m. on Tues., May 3 did not end until the meeting was adjourned after midnight on May 4.
The Virginian Review

The Town of Mineral has hired a new interim town manager following a vote in an emergency called meeting on April 23. The town council voted 4-0 to hire Willie Harper to succeed Reese Peck. The latter had resigned the day before.   Peck had previously told town council he would stay until May 11. But he changed his plans after reading critical letters to the editor in The Central Virginian last week from Mayor Pamela Harlowe and Rebecca McGehee, wife of Councilor Roy “Snake” McGehee.     Harper served as Mineral’s town manager from 2006 to 2012, when he was fired by the council in a 4-2 vote. The council made no public comment in 2012 as to why. “I don’t know all the circumstances,” Harper said this week. “As a town manager or county administrator, you can be relieved of duty without any reason. It was never stated to me [what the reason was].” McGehee was among the four who voted to fire Harper in 2012. He was not present for the April 23 vote to hire him back, nor was Harlowe, who chaired the 2012 meeting in her role as mayor. Under the town charter, if there is no town manager employed by the town, the duties of that position fall to the mayor until a replacement can be found. Following Peck’s resignation, several members of the town and DMV Select staff informed members of the council that if Harlowe took over the role of town manager following Peck’s departure, they would quit.  In an effort to avoid that outcome, the council called an emergency meeting on Saturday. Vice-Mayor Tommy Runnett and council members Tony Henshaw, Ed Jarvis and Ed Kube attended the meeting. McGehee, Harlowe and David Lawson were not in attendance. Several town residents attended the meeting, some speaking during a public comment session to express their frustration with the state of things.
The Central Virginian

Fairfax County residents getting a divorce or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can now get documents filed electronically instead of trekking over to the county courthouse. The Fairfax County Circuit Court launched a new e-filing system on Monday (May 2), a notable step for a court that requires a paid subscription for access to case information and an in-person visit to obtain documents except in a select few cases. To develop the service, which is currently available for existing divorce, personal injury, and contract cases, the court has partnered with the Texas-based company File & Serve Express (FSX), which says it manages more than 80 million documents and works in 1,300 courts across 20 states and D.C. While the e-filing service is primarily relevant to lawyers, FSX has public access accounts that provide “real-time access to publicly-available court documents” across the country, according to the registration form. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office did not immediately return a request for comment seeking to clarify whether that will allow access to electronically filed documents in Fairfax County cases.