"The first day went by in a blur," Robert S. Noe Jr. said Tuesday--his second day as Leesburg's new town manager.
Noe, a former Prince William County executive and most recently city manager of Tamarac, Fla., has taken over from Paul E. York, the town's finance director and acting town manager for the last six months. York was honored Sept. 8 with a not-going-away and thank-you party at Tuscarora Mill Restaurant.
Noe said he is spending his first days trying to meet with the town's department heads and review budgets and policies. He said that he recognizes that growth and transportation are key issues facing both the town and Loudoun County and that he wants to work on "building relationships" between the two governments to address the needs.
His initial tasks also will include hiring a new police chief, town attorney and deputy town manager. He will oversee the town's $21 million annual budget and 230 employees.
Noe, 59, was selected last month by the Town Council from 75 candidates. He replaces former town manager Steven C. Brown, who resigned March 1 as part of a deal with prosecutors to end an investigation into his use of the town's credit card. Noe was among the top candidates in 1991 when the Town Council hired Brown. But Noe withdrew his name and became a city manager in Florida after he and council members were unable to agree on a salary.
Noe will make $110,000 a year, $10,000 more than Brown made, town officials said.
He said he is renting a house with his wife in Hamilton for the next five months and is looking to buy a house in Leesburg.
Leesburg Today Removes Interim Publisher
Bob Twigg resigned this week as president of Amendment 1 Inc., parent company of Leesburg Today, after being removed as interim publisher of the newspaper.
Twigg, 52, said members of Amendment 1's board of directors "questioned his integrity" because he is married to Leesburg Vice Mayor B.J. Webb. Neither Webb nor officials of Leesburg Today would comment on Twigg's resignation.
According to Twigg, the board voted Sept. 8 to appoint him interim publisher, replacing George F. Atwell, the board's chairman, who was appointed earlier this month to a vacant seat on the Leesburg Town Council. Atwell said he would step down as interim publisher and board chairman to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.
Twigg said the board reconsidered its vote Sept. 13 appointing him interim publisher and removed him from the $13,000-a-year position.
Twigg, a major stockholder in Amendment 1, retired in 1996 as a reporter for USA Today and has lived in Leesburg since 1989. He had been president of the company since February 1997. His resignation letter demanded that the board buy back the stock owned by his family.
Twigg's appointment and its reconsideration "are the decisions that are made within the boardroom," Atwell said Tuesday, declining to comment further on those actions or Twigg's resignation.
Atwell said he will continue as chairman and interim publisher until he resigns in the coming weeks.
Funds Approved to Pay Internet Lawsuit Fees
The Loudoun County Library Board of Trustees agreed to use funds budgeted for legal costs to pay more than $100,000 in attorney's fees to the plaintiffs in a 1997 lawsuit that declared its controversial Internet access policy unconstitutional.
The board's 6 to 1 decision came Monday night, five months after a federal judge ordered the library board to pay $69,881 to Mainstream Loudoun, the civic group that filed the suit, and $37,037 to the American Civil Liberties Union, which joined the suit later.
Two trustees were absent and board member Ken Welch voted against the measure. Welch, who represents the Sugarland Run District, was appointed to replace Del. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) who served on the library board and developed the controversial policy.
Doug Henderson, director of Loudoun County's library system, said the bill will be paid with a portion of this year's library budget designated for legal fees, once he receives an invoice from the plaintiffs' attorneys. Library Board Chairman John J. Czaplewski said no library services will be jeopardized by paying the bill.
After the judge's ruling, the library trustees appealed to the attorneys for the plaintiffs to reduce the fees, but their requests were denied. The two groups had asked for a total of nearly a half-million dollars in attorney's fees and expenses before the judge ruled on the final amount.
The Internet policy required the use of software to block pornographic World Wide Web sites on library computers and allowed patrons to ask that the filter be turned off if they believed that a legitimate site had been blocked. U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema ruled that the policy interfered with patrons' free-speech rights and turned librarians into arbiters of community standards.
Library trustees decided in April not to appeal the case.
Activism Takes Back Seat to Family
Sometimes even Matthew Claassen--outspoken eastern Loudoun activist--has to take time out.
Claassen, 39, who has just gotten married and "inherited two kids," said will not run for reelection to his seat as homeowner representative on the board of directors of the Ashburn Village Community Association, which represents about 7,500 residents.
Claassen, vice president of investments at Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. in McLean, was elected to the board--and appointed treasurer--three years in a row. Claassen also is co-founder of VIGL, or Voters Insisting Government Listen, a group of citizens who complained that Loudoun County supervisors had no authority to issue debt and enter into a lease-purchase agreement one year after voters rejected a $35.5 million bond issue to build new county headquarters in 1993.
The group unsuccessfully sued the county, saying the building's original financing violated the Virginia Constitution because the debt was not approved by voters.
And now, said Claassen, "I have other things to focus on."
Claassen's wife, Meri, a billing manager at a local energy company, has two children, Josh, 4, and Roland, 6, who "keep us laughing," Claassen said.
"I may be active again later, but right now it's time for me to spend time starting my own family," he said.
Sheriff's Records Section to Be Closed Briefly
The records section of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office will be closed for part of next week because of remodeling at the Catoctin Street office.
The section--which provides copies of accident and crime reports, conducts fingerprinting and administers applications for county concealed weapon permits--will be closed Tuesday and reopen at 1 p.m. Wednesday.