Full Circle: Out with the old, in with the…old?
By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report
Front Royal voters opted to keep first-term mayor Timothy W. Darr in office Tuesday by a wide margin – 924 to 326 – but rejected two of his colleagues, one of whom got the least amount of votes among the nine candidates to fill three seats.
Vice Mayor Chris W. Holloway and Councilman Carson C. Lauder, Jr. were swept from office in an election that saw a voter turnout of only 16 percent. Ironically, both opposed a move to switch to a November town election which would likely have seen a much larger turnout – traditionally at least double over the past decade – in which incumbents usually benefit from simple name recognition.
Even more surprising to many observers, former Vice Mayor Bret W. Hrbek and former Mayor Eugene R. Tewalt, both of whom lost their re-election bids in 2010, received the most votes, 515 and 514 of a total of 1,335 cast for nine candidates for council and two for mayor.
In 3rd place and also joining Front Royal’s Town Council is Pond, Athey, Athey and Pond attorney Daryl Lee Funk, who edged out the only other serious contender for a spot at the top, Linda J. Allen, by 94 votes, 509 to 415.
Holloway came in fifth in the race for three seats with 352 votes. Lauder finished ninth and was low man on the council vote total totem pole with 269 votes, despite that family cole slaw recipe.
Rounding out the voter count were Ron Harvey, sixth place (297); Manuel Vicente, seventh (288); Robbie Tennett, eighth (281).
Here are the complete unofficial results: http://goo.gl/
This report was edited by Roger Bianchini.
Justice is best served cold. Two out of three isn’t bad, as one of my choices, Linda Allen was not elected. Daryl Funk will be a great asset to the council with his legal mind and intellectual prowess. It’s hard to feel sorry for the incumbents that lost as they deserved to be shown the door, unlike when they fired Mike Graham as part of a lynching mob that struck in the middle of the night. The rest of that group will be dealt with at the next election. The citizens of Front Royal have spoken loudly, if not all together as a huge group, based on voter turnout. It’s sad that so many people in our town don’t care enough to come out and vote. Is the high rental rate a potential factor? Mayor Darr, also deserved his re-election as he was never proven or even alleged to be associated with the councilman that have made controversial decisions of the past (except on the May vs November election date change). His challenger never distinguished himself to the voters as able and deserving to replace the incumbent Mayor. I predict Mr. Darr’s next term will be easier and less stressful. I believe Mr. Burke’s title as Town Manager should be one of the first considerations for the new town council if the Town of Front Royal is going to successfully move forward. After all, one of the primary reasons he was given the job was due to the backroom deals that were allegedly brokered between the same individuals that wrongly and secretively dismissed Mike Graham. Mr. Burke is stuck in the past, happy with the present, and unwilling or unable to visualize a future that involves positive change for the Town. He has grabbed the checkbook and signed a blank check for unavailable funds allocated to upgrading the wastewater treatment plant with the Rolls Royce version that provides features and benefits that the taxpayer cannot afford at a cost of $50 million or potentially higher. New state regulations requiring the reduction of Nitrogen and Phosphorous in wastewaters do not mandate the purchase of a gold plated treatment plant. These decisions are being made with no oversight or adequate input from a professional engineering firm. Mr. Burke has been unwilling to entertain affordable and environmentally beneficial alternatives. He is unwilling to pursue revolutionary changes to waste disposal that would save the town millions of dollars and provide a steady stream of revenue from the sale of byproducts produced from the town’s biosolids; even though state and federal grants may be available which would fund the research, and the Department of Environmental Quality would welcome the success of this first in the U.S. vermistabilization process that is being implemented in many countries throughout the World. Rejecting this opportunity will mean significant future increases in water and sewer rates. Mr. Burke did not adequately protect the town’s taxpayers when the Dominion Power deal was brokered by warning the town council that costs to install the new water line could reach $8-$10 million dollars which well exceeds the $3.5 million dollar figure that Dominion Power will be accountable for. Again, no qualified engineering firm was consulted to get estimates of the potential costs. Mr. Burke, in my opinion, is not qualified to lead this Town into a future that will require deft management of existing revenues while making investments into future endeavors that will reduce present expenditures and provide additional cash flow in the future. We had an individual that was capable of doing this, but carelessly and without justification disposed of him, just as we now dispose our waste in a landfill instead of using it as a potential revenue source. His initial appointment by individuals with suspect motives at best should be reason enough to re-evaluate his ability to perform the duties and responsibilities as a town manager.