Treasurer Felt Spurned By City Hall
Brendel said the City Council was forced to put "everything on the table" in the budget process because Manassas Park had a $700,000 deficit. A hiring freeze was placed on the treasurer's office, but in the end, the city funded it "exactly the way both [Eric Edmonson, the acting interim treasurer, and Montesa] said it needed to be run," he said. Edmonson will interim treasurer at least until another special election is held in November.
Brendel said that Montesa was fully aware of the budget considerations and that he was communicating with Mayor-elect F.C. "Frank" Jones Jr. (R) by e-mail at the time.
Either way, Montesa said he became "disgusted."
"I no longer had the stability that I needed," he said. "I'm so new to the City Hall issue, anything can blindside me. Who really are my friends? I just wasn't sure anymore, and I wasn't going to go into a situation where my probability of success was around 10 percent."
Brendel and others said they're disappointed.
"He had a lot of very good credentials, and we're not getting the benefit of it," Brendel said.
Treuting called Montesa "an ideal candidate" for treasurer and said he disagreed with council members' decision to keep Montesa from speaking before them as a candidate.
"There were a lot of ideas that Noel had and he didn't feel that people would even listen to or consider them," Treuting said. "It wasn't clear if that was part of the budget process or, 'I just don't want to talk to Noel.' "
Jones said Montesa shouldn't blame the city for his personal decision.
"I don't buy that for a minute," Jones said. "He got the staffing he asked for. . . . When he accepted the [Republican] Party's nomination and ran with it, he made a commitment to the citizens. It would be the same as me leaving now."
Such circumstances are rare in Virginia, said Jean Jensen, secretary of the state's Board of Elections in Richmond. When someone decides not to take office, it's almost always because of health reasons, she said.
"Between the time the person decides if they want to run, then goes through the mechanics of what it takes to get on the ballot -- sometimes people's life situations change," she said. Montesa's is "an unusual enough reason that I don't ever remember anything along those lines happening."
Montesa said he wanted to apologize to the 429 people who voted for him.
"I'm disappointed and ashamed," he said. "I want to say 'sorry' to the 429 people who thought I was qualified . . . because those are the people who I'm disappointing. But I just couldn't do it. . . . When I play a game, I want to play to win."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company