Scores of Loudoun residents filled the county boardroom and many questioned Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) about his knowledge and treatment of the allegations against Delgaudio.
The Sterling supervisor is the subject of a criminal investigation led by Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos (D), who was appointed this month to examine allegations made by Delgaudio’s former aide, Donna Mateer.
Mateer, who filed a complaint with the county human resources department immediately before she was fired from Delgaudio’s office in March, has claimed that she spent most of her time early this year scheduling fundraising meetings for the supervisor.
Delgaudio has repeatedly denied the accusations and maintains that his fundraising efforts were strictly to benefit a local youth football league. Delgaudio’s attorney, Charles King, has expressed confidence that the investigation will uncover no evidence of wrongdoing.
King did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Mateer’s accusations, first reported in The Washington Post in September, prompted the Board of Supervisors to vote unanimously Oct. 3 to pursue an administrative investigation of Delgaudio. That review was suspended once the criminal investigation was opened this month.
At the town hall meeting Tuesday, numerous questions from audience members focused on documents that Mateer provided to York shortly after she was fired in March, including fundraising spreadsheets and e-mail records related to her allegations. Those documents were not turned over to Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman until earlier this month, prompting Plowman’s request for the appointment of Stamos to conduct the investigation.
The delay has caused a mounting outcry among local Democrats and critics of Delgaudio and York.
York was asked repeatedly why he did not turn over the documents to the attorneys as soon as he received them – and the chairman repeatedly apologized for having failed to do so. But he also noted that Mateer’s HR complaint was under review by Stamos at the time he received the supporting records, and questioned why the commonwealth’s attorney didn’t seek the same evidence.
“My simple mind simply thought that somebody making probably … over a hundred-thousand-dollar salary would have gotten the complaint and picked up the phone and called Donna, and talked to Ms. Mateer as to the aspects of her complaint,” York said. “But that simply, clearly didn’t happen.”
During the 90-minute meeting, one woman asked York whether he regretted his previous support of Delgaudio during the 2011 campaign.
“I regret a lot of things in my life, ma’am,” York said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Another Loudoun resident said he was unimpressed with York’s explanation that some behavior by board members — including Delgaudio — might be deemed inappropriate but not technically illegal, leaving few options in terms of disciplinary action.
“Why is there not a higher standard? Why have you not signed an ethics pledge? Why are we standing here talking about compliance with the law?” the man asked. “Do you think that technical compliance with the law is a sufficient standard by which you want to be judged in your life and in your actions?”
His question prompted a round of applause from the crowd in the boardroom.
Toward the end of the meeting, another man asked how many in the crowd would have turned over evidentiary documents to the county attorney immediately. Nearly every person in the boardroom raised their hand.
York again admitted he wished he had passed the documents along sooner.
“In 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had, but I didn’t, and I have to live with that,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday, a county committee voted in favor of revisions to the county’s policy concerning board aides. York noted that the full Board of Supervisors would vote on the committee’s recommendation in December, and said that the revised policy “has put in much stricter standards that will leave very little room” for abuse or improper use of county aides.
The public can review the proposed changes on the county Web site and will have the opportunity to comment on the revisions at a public input session Dec. 4.
On Wednesday, a political action committee led by former Loudoun supervisor Stevens Miller announced that it had filed a petition in Loudoun County District Court after the county declined to provide a copy of the documents Mateer gave to York. The Real Advocate PAC had filed a FOIA requesting those records before the criminal investigation of Delgaudio was opened, Miller said, but the county told the group this week that it could not release the records because they were the subject of the investigation.
A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28, Miller said.