By Dan McDermott
Warren/Frederick County Report
LYNCHBURG, VA (Aug. 21, 2020)–Announced as the new City Manager for Lynchburg just days ago, Douglas Stanley has resigned after a flurry of social media posts hit Lynchburg containing images of alleged emails, the same email images that had caused similar controversy in Warren County starting last year.
At least one of the emails is a fake according to Stanley and a post by the Warren County facebook page in June.
Stanley said he was quitting due to “turmoil generated in the Lynchburg community surrounding the release and circulation of several emails claimed to have been sent by me.”
Almost immediately after he was announced, social media posts appeared on Lynchburg media stories on Twitter and Facebook showing the alleged emails.
Lynchburg City Council met in closed session Wednesday to discuss Stanley’s position.
According to a release, “City Council will discuss the appointment of an Interim City Manager at its September 8 meeting. Until an Interim City Manager is appointed, Deputy City Manager Reid Wodicka will carry out the duties of the City Manager as specified in City Code.”
Stanley was introduced as the future Lynchburg City Manager at a Council Work Session August 11 where he said he looked forward to becoming part of the Lynchburg community.
“I look forward to working with you to carry out your vision for the city. Lynchburg is known throughout the Commonwealth for its history of great governance. I look forward to continuing that standard that has been set by my predecessors. My family has joined me here this evening. I’d like to introduce my wife Jenny, my daughter Jenna and my son Whill. We are extremely excited not only about moving to this community but about becoming part of this community. To the staff of the City of Lynchburg, I look forward to working with you in service to the citizens of the City of Lynchburg,” he said.
At a City Council meeting later that same day, Lynchburg’s Mayor Mary Jane Dolan spoke to concerns raised in Lynchburg about the scandal that centered around alleged embezzlement of millions of dollars by the former Warren County EDA Director Jennifer McDonald.
“Pertaining to the selection of our new City Manager Douglas Stanley, there’s been some social media talk about his position in Warren County. During Council’s vetting process for our new city manager we became aware of the fact that Mr. Stanley along with the entire Warren County Board of Supervisors and county attorney were charged by a special grand jury in September of 2019 with one misdemeanor count of nonfeasance and two misdemeanor counts of misfeasance for lack of oversight of the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority. After further analysis by the court the charges were dismissed on the grounds that the EDA is a separate unit of local government and that Mr. Stanley’s role of county administrator had no supervisory authority over the EDA executive director.
“Council considered the situation very carefully and we are convinced that in addition to lacking legal responsibility for oversight, Mr. Stanley had no connection to any wrongdoing, even indirectly and we are confident that he has satisfied all his management responsibilities with integrity,” Mayor Dolan said.
Today, Mayor Dolan expressed her regrets. “This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. I wish Doug and his family the very best in the future,” she said.