Thursday, September 07, 2006

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Is Sean Connaughton trying to screw Prince William County taxpayers and/or the GOP one last time?

One could make the case. According to Riley, Chairman Sean is now Administrator Sean. This means that he can no longer legally hold the office of Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. He has offered nothing more than vague, platitudinous BS as to why he has not resigned and assumed his Federal duties. And "a stellar evening in Tysons in which the Northern Virginia business community and the Troutman Sanders law firm had a relaxed and jovial send-off for Sean Connaughton at the Tower Club," as related by one blog, doesn't count as any kind of justification for delay.

Nevertheless, there is not yet any verification that I have been able to find that he has actually resigned his elective office. A lot of surmise, to be sure, but no verification. And who know? The surmise might actually be true. While I expect a black-bordered banner headline from Chairman Sean's apologists at the Potomac News, nothing has been reported there, either.

This is a serious matter. Aside from the fact that he may be in violation of Federal law, there is apparently a quite formalized procedure for calling a special election to replace him, one which has been anticipated by Prince William's major parties in nominating candidates to replace him in conventions held on 19 August. And at least some interpretations of that law suggest that the window for holding that election contemporaneously with November's general election is quickly closing, and may close tomorrow, on 8 September. Even if it doesn't, I have been told that 8 September is the deadline for printing and ordering absentee ballots.

So what happens if Chairman Sean doesn't resign in time to hold the special election contemporaneously with November's general election? Well, since Commonwealth law requires that the election be held within a certain period, a special election in December or January will have to be called.

The County bears the costs of elections. According to figures that I have heard, a special election costs County taxpayers about $40,000 to $45,000 or more. And it is almost a certainty that turnout in such an election will be far lower than in a general, primarily Federal, election.

Moreover, some of the Internet punditry class has suggested that a special election held at a time other than the general election will favor the Democrat candidate, Sharon Pandak.

With all that in mind, Chairman Sean's inexplicable delay seems to be nothing more than an effort to stick Prince William taxpayers with another unnecessary bill, and/or to stick it to the GOP, and a nominee, Corey Stewart, that he --- by all accounts --- loathes.

If this is the case, there are plenty of Prince William Republicans who will not long forget this latest example of Chairman Sean's perfidy, and contempt for the GOP, which he has long treated merely as a vehicle for his personal ambitions. It was amazing to observe and listen to those who have long strapped themselves to his mast --- at the PW GOP's Labor Day picnic --- who suddenly were no longer unquestioning apologists for Chairman Sean.

I hope I'm wrong. Long, close scrutiny of Chairman Sean makes me doubtful that I am.

UPDATE: In a comment, Jim Riley says that he has it on solid authority that Sean has resigned. If so, that makes the Potomac News look bad, for not reporting it, and/or the County government, for not publicizing it. If correct, it is the Potomac News, not Chairman Sean, which looks bad.


Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

I have it on solid authority from a high-ranking DOT official that Sean resigned prior to taking the oath of office. That would have been a requirement before they would have administered the oath.

I e-mailed the Potomac News today to let them know that Sean started at DOT yesterday, so expect to see something in the next few days.

Charles said...

It is pretty sad that the Potomac News didn't even report on his swearing-in. Maybe they were confused when he didn't announce his resignation at his last board meeting.

It does seem very curious that nothing has been said. Maureen should now be the acting chair, but I've seen no indication of that announcement either.

A judge now has UP TO 15 days to announce a special election, so I think we are fine even if they start a couple days late, because I believe September 23 was the last date to have the special election on November 7.

I'm concerned about the absentee ballots, but I have to think that they could hold that off a day or two -- New Jersey managed to print them up pretty quick in 2002.

James Young said...

Sounds reasonable. See update.

Craig said...

I think that Connaughton should have tendered his resignation publicly during the BOCS meetings on Tuesday so that it would have been on the public record. If he had done so then there is no doubt that the Potomac News would have reported on it as they reported on other issues discussed during the meetings. Either way you look at it I think it was handled badly.

NoVA Scout said...

Why does it matter whether the Potomac News reported it? The resignation was submitted to coincide with the swearing in for the federal position. Becuase the Chairmanship is a part-time position, my sense of it is that the first day that it will be noticeable is at the next BOS meeting on the 13 September.

Cincinnatus quietly returned to the plow without fanfare, pomp and circumstance. (Actually, he didn't return to the plow, he just picked up a different sword, but you get my meaning). It is indeed a World Turned Upside Down to think that a great man of public service has to do this with notice to the local blogosphere or the local newspaper.

Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

My contact at the Potomac News is telling everyone there this morning about this. She didn't see my e-mail on this until late last night.

James Young said...

"NoVA Scout," this is one of your more nonsensical comments. It "matters" for the reasons I stated, and because the electorate of Prince William County are entitled to an orderly, efficient process in choosing his successor. The political parties have worked to provide it; Chairman Sean has a duty to do the same.

While I now believe otherwise, as usual, of course, your comparisons lend credence to the conclusion that you are Chairman Sean, given the narcissistic arrogance of that last paragraph. Only Chairman Sean --- or a sycophant --- would describe him as "a great man." I much prefer Admiral Halsey's comments on the subject of "great men."

When are you going to respond to my e-mail? Yeah or nay will suffice as to the issue raised. Shall I construe silence as assent?

Anonymous said...

The Potomac News hasn't reported this yet because all of their crack political reporters volunteered as valets at Sean's going away party and missed their deadlines.

Anonymous said...

According to the Potomac News, Chairman Sean will be at the 9/11 anniversary event on September 11 and "will read the names of the victims."

It appears as though the Potomac News got caught with their pants down again, hence the reason why they haven't reported Chairman Sean's resignation.

Events planned for fifth anniversary of 9/11
Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack will be commemorated in Prince William and at the Pentagon with small, subdued ceremonies as well as a much larger Freedom Walk around Washington, D.C.

Advance registration for The America Supports You Freedom Walk is required and will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Pentagon or online at until noon Saturday. The event is free and will take place Sunday.

In Prince William, a public wreath laying ceremony and candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at the new Liberty Memorial on the grounds of the McCoart Administration Center off Prince William Parkway.

"We want to keep it simple, respectful and low key," said Brenda Evans, co-chairman of the Liberty Memorial Committee that spent three years raising money to have the memorial built. "We certainly want the public to come if they want to."

The memorial, which was built and dedicated in May, was a community-driven effort to honor the 22 Prince William Area residents who died during the attacks. Prince William lost more residents during the attacks than any other jurisdiction in the Washington, D.C., area.

Its centerpiece is a pool of water in the shape of a pentagon. Two fountains that symbolize the World Trade Center towers shoot upward from the middle of the pool. A walkway made of Pennsylvania flagstone, representing Flight 93, surrounds the memorial that is ringed with newly planted trees.

A block of stone from the Pentagon fire is incorporated into the design.

The names of those who perished are inscribed in stone on the side of the pool facing the front of the memorial.

More than 400 people attended the dedication.

"We had such a large ceremony for the dedication, but we still wanted to commemorate the fifth anniversary without stirring up too many emotions again," Evans said. The committee decided on a simple evening ceremony, she said.

Brenda Lynch and Laurie Laychak, memorial committee members who lost their husbands at the Pentagon, will lay a wreath at the memorial during the ceremony.

A bagpiper will play Amazing Grace and Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large, will read the names of the victims.

Evans said the committee decided to hold its event on Saturday so that family members could attend other memorial events planned for Sunday and Monday at the Pentagon and in Washington, D.C.

The public is invited to tour the Pentagon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The tours will include the site of the attack and the Pentagon Chapel, where visitors can see the memorial stained glass window dedicated to those who died at the Pentagon during the attack.

The America Supports You Freedom Walk starts at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on the National Mall and finishes at the Pentagon.

It is one of 91 walks that will be held in 41 states to commemorate the victims and families of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as to honor veterans. The events are organized by grassroots efforts, through schools and universities, and with the aid and support of civic leaders, veterans groups, non-profit organizations, and citizens.

"Watching the Freedom Walk grow to be embraced by dozens of communities, cities and schools across the country has been such a touching display of patriotism and really speaks to the spirit of the American people," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense and architect of the America Supports You program.

At the conclusion of the walk, a tribute will be sung by opera singer Denyse Graves and an illumination ceremony will be held. The illumination ceremony will include 184 beams of light to commemorate each life lost in the attack on the Pentagon and each light will remain lit throughout Monday.

On Monday, the anniversary date, a private Family Memorial Ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. outside of the Pentagon Mall entrance. Victims' families and employees who were in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, have been invited to attend. A Pentagon Employee Memorial Ceremony, also closed to the public, will be held at 10 a.m. in the Pentagon Auditorium. It will be hosted by the Pentagon's chaplains and include a musical tribute by Selah, a contemporary Christian group.

Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

To be fair to Aileen, that article appeared on Tuesday, 9/5 and Sean wasn't sworn in until the next day. I didn't know it was happening myself until 9/5.