Transparency News, 6/28/2022


June 28, 2022

There was no newsletter yesterday, June 27

state & local news stories

One month ago, Page County Sheriff Chad Cubbage sent a letter to County Administrator Amity Moler requesting that GPS tracking capabilities in the new radio system being installed in the county be removed from units for “command staff and all narcotic positions.” “I understand that the Major [Pete Monteleone] had a conversation with you on Friday, May 20, 2022 regarding the Page County Sheriff’s Office concerns around the GPS/Tracking,” the letter reads. “As we have previously discussed this, we stand by our request that all command staff and all narcotic positions within the Page County Sheriff’s Office have no GPS/Tracking through the radio system.” Sheriff Cubbage followed up with an in-person request at the Page County Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday night, citing that “sensitive material” could be leaked prior to raids or undercover operations. “Has this information ever been leaked before?” asked District 1 supervisor Keith Guzy. “Yes,” the sheriff responded, while not acknowledging where the leaked information originated. The conversation the sheriff engaged in with supervisors in open session seemed to indicate that someone outside of the sheriff’s office may have been responsible — and it was noted several times that GPS tracking information can be seen by 911 dispatchers in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is run by the county separate from the sheriff’s office.
Page Valley News

Friday’s special Elkton Town Council meeting was canceled. Mayor Josh Gooden, who called the meeting, said it was canceled because it was unclear if there would be a quorum. A quorum is the minimum number of members needed to make the council’s proceedings valid. Gooden also said Friday that town officials are still gathering information on how to proceed without a town manager. Friday’s meeting was the second one called, and later canceled, this week. Council members Randell Snow and Steve America called a meeting scheduled for Wednesday to address the opening and closing of the Town Hall and community center, after they were shuttered by Gooden in response to Lunsford’s firing.
Daily News Record

The Department of Veterans Affairs is about halfway through its congressionally mandated five-year plan to eliminate or reduce the use of canines, felines and non-human primates in biomedical research.  Two approved experiments, or protocols, on canines were still active in March at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center in Richmond, according to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the White Coat Waste Project, a watchdog group working to end what they consider wasteful and cruel taxpayer-funded animal experiments.  The two protocols were scheduled to expire in April and July of this year, but as of March, there were no dogs actually being held at the Richmond VA. 
Virginia Mercury

The city of Richmond doled out $37.6 million of federal emergency aid at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping thousands of households and businesses stay afloat. A recent audit, however, has found that officials fell short in ensuring accountability. Following the completion of an internal audit on the city’s use of federal CARES Act funding that was awarded to help states and localities with the crisis, city officials have concurred that better management and oversight is needed for future allocations of emergency aid.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Hopewell City Manager March Altman resigned Monday night, bringing an end to a three-year tenure and possibly opening the door to become the next city manager in Petersburg. In a short letter addressed to "The Honorable City Council," Altman said he was submitting the 45-day notice required by Hopewell city code. His last day in the office will be Aug. 5, but he plans to take vacations July 18-22 and Aug. 8-10, essentially making his last official day Aug. 10. "I would like to thank City Council for [the] honor and privilege to have served the citizens of Hopewell," Altman wrote in his resignation letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Progress-Index. Altman had been on leave for unspecified reasons, according to Hopewell Mayor Patience Bennett. When reached Monday night, Bennett declined to comment on Altman's departure. While Bennett was silent about Altman's departure, one of her council colleagues was not. In a blistering Facebook post, Ward 1 Councilor Debbie Randolph blamed his departure on "hostility and nastiness" Randolph claimed some councilors regularly throw upon city staff.
The Progress-Index