BREAKING NEWS: Attorney to petition for dissolution of Town of Front Royal

UPDATE (21:30)

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

FRONT ROYAL–Front Royal resident David Silek, whose ancestors founded the town, told members of Town Council tonight that he intends to file a formal request for the town to dissolve and consolidate with Warren County.

Silek told Warren County Report he will present a letter to town officials within days asking that they voluntarily enter into an agreement with the county to consolidate under § 15.2-3502 of the Code of Va.

Silek says that if they fail to do so, he will organize a Petition Requesting Agreement under Virginia Code § 15.2-3503.

“We will tell the town and county to either agree to consolidate or the voters can force the issue. If town and county don’t act, 10% of registered voters in each locality can call for a special election to be put on the ballot,” Silek said.

According to the Virginia State Board of Elections, there are 23,240 registered voters in Warren County of which 8,334 are in the Town of Front Royal.

“The Town Council as it is currently constituted cannot be trusted to make decisions for the town. They cannot be trusted with town finances. They have demonstrated complete ignorance of municipal management,” Silek said.

Silek is an attorney who is representing two people in a $30 million suit against the town.

Silek made his announcement at a packed town council session in which several citizens sharply criticized the body’s recent decision to fire Town Manager J. Michael Graham. Silek opposed Graham’s ouster.

Silek’s move is ironic. He is the 6th great grandson of settler Peter LeHew, for whom the colonial-era LeHewtown was settled in 1738. Silek’s 4th great grandfather Richard Pomeroy was a signer of the original request to the Va. General Assembly to adopt a charter forming Front Royal in the same area in 1788.

§ 15.2-3502 of the Code of Virginia states:

The governing bodies of any two or more adjoining localities desiring to consolidate into a consolidated locality in accordance with this article may enter into an agreement for the consolidation, setting forth in such consolidation agreement:

1. The names of the localities which are proposed to be consolidated;

2. The name of the proposed consolidated locality, which name shall be such as to distinguish it from the name of any other like unit of government in Virginia;

3. The property, real and personal, belonging to each locality and the fair value thereof in current money of the United States;

4. The indebtedness, bonded and otherwise, of each locality;

5. The proposed name and location of the county seat of the consolidated county or the address of the administrative offices of the city or town;

6. If the counties have different forms of county organization and government, the proposed form of county organization and government of the consolidated county, or if the cities or towns are to adopt the charter of one of the cities or towns, the name of the city or town whose charter is adopted; and

7. The other terms of the agreement.

The governing body of each of the localities may appoint an advisory committee composed of three persons to assist in the preparation of such agreement and may pay the members of such advisory committee reasonable compensation, approved by the judge of the circuit court for the locality.

In counties, no consolidation agreement shall become effective unless approved by a referendum. In cities and towns, the consolidation agreement may include a provision requiring approval by referendum.

The original of the consolidation agreement and, if appropriate, a petition on behalf of the several governing bodies asking for a referendum on the question of consolidation shall be filed with the judge or one of the judges of the circuit courts for the localities; there shall be filed with each of the other judges a copy of the consolidation agreement and of the petition.

§ 15.2-3503 of the Code of Virginia states:

“The voters of any locality whose governing body has not taken the initiative under § 15.2-3502 may require the governing body to do so by filing a petition with the governing body. The petition shall be signed by not less than ten percent of the voters of the locality registered as of January 1 of the year in which the petition is filed, which in no case shall be less than 100 voters, and shall ask the governing body to effect, in accordance with § 15.2-3502, a consolidation agreement with the locality named in the petition and to petition the judge for a referendum on the question. A copy of the petition of the voters shall also be filed with the judge of the circuit court for the locality. If the governing body within six months is unable or for any reason fails to perfect such consolidation agreement, then the judge of the circuit court for the locality shall appoint a committee of five representative citizens of the locality to act for and in lieu of the governing body in perfecting the consolidation agreement and in petitioning for a referendum.”


By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

Manassas, Va. Attorney David Silek says he plans to petition Circuit Court to dissolve the Town of Front Royal, Va.

Silek spoke at a council meeting filled with citizens angry at council’s recent firing of Town Manager J. Michael Graham.

Silek, who said he is descended from one of the town’s founders, is an attorney representing two people in a $30 million suit against the town.

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  1. Petitioning for a referendum to consolidate the town with the county pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-3503 makes a lot of sense for many reasons. Historically, the voters of Front Royal were in favor of consolidation when this matter was presented on the ballots in February of 1976. Considering the current political climate and economy, the voters of Warren County have many new reasons to vote for consolidation. What is not to like about less government, less taxes, less regulation, and no more embarrassment caused by elected town officials? Unlike the termination of the former town manager, Michael Graham, a referendum gives the VOTERS a chance to decide who should stay and who should go. The town council has the answer the question: Do we really need two governments in Warren County?

  2. Why do not these idoits on council resign and save the town more problems.. I also heard that Sayre says he agrees with the Plaintiff’s Messrs Poe and Horton. WOW.. Can you say request for admission??

  3. There is alot to be said about checks and balances too. Is it possible that this is an attempt to consolidate Power with the County because a certain Supervisor wants to ensure his place in the power base in Front Royal. Proceed with Caution I say.

    It almost might be a good idea to take a breather. Let the dust settle before going full speed ahead. Sometimes the worlds greatest mistakes have been made while everyone is caught up in the moment. The County has a lot to gain by this consolidation. But what about the town? What does the Town have to gain by this move? And I am not talking about the Council. I’m talking about the Citizens.

    • Lower taxes to start off. The county can take over all town utilities and run them for a profit also and that would in turn keep county taxes lower! Plus the days of double taxes on your home, real property and automobiles and business property are OVER!

    • What “checks and balances” do you mean? If you are suggesting that the citizens of the county would take advantage of the citizens of the town, we are all “county” citizens already. Consolidation would entail continued representation from the geographic area formerly represented by the town. More significantly, many of the county residents that have their businesses in town would have an electoral vote in the government that controls their business taxes, licenses and regulations. The status quo currently denies this “check and balance” for those business owners.

      If the town citizens would be disadvantaged by consolidation, why hasn’t that already happened with the county school board? Think about it: We only have a county school board and no independent “town” school board. However, no one is complaining that it was a conspiracy to consolidate power with the county. For the same reasons that we only have one school board, i.e., efficiency and tax savings, we only need one local government.

      Finally, the consolidation movement is not of recent vintage but a direction our community has been heading for several decades. If the town council truly believes that two governments are what the people want, submit it to a vote. Let the voters decide instead of three councilmen elected by less than ten percent of the town. At the last referendum, town citizens voted two to one in favor of consolidation. So to answer your question, town citizens gain a more efficient government with fewer taxes and less regulations.

      • And how much more would we tax payers have to pay the County Supervisors for the extra duties that they would have to take on?

        And how much more power would we be handing over to the Supervisors?

  4. What David Downes said. As a county resident who lives within a stones-throw of town, I am effected by the decisions the town makes, but I have no representation.

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