Prince William County's regional jail board, which includes Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen III, has given Col. Glendell Hill a series of perfect evaluations and significant raises in the past four years, lauding his performance as the jail's superintendent and calling him an innovator and a creative leader.
The evaluations contrast with Stoffregen's recent comments during a reelection campaign speech in which he called Hill a "puppet" of the jail board who has a "go-along to get-along" approach to his job. Hill is running for sheriff as a Republican, challenging Stoffregen, a Democrat.
According to jail board officials, Stoffregen has joined the rest of the board in unanimous support in Hill's evaluations dating back several years, and has never voiced opposition to the high marks Hill has received. Stoffregen also joined a unanimous board decision in July 2000 to give Hill a $10,000 raise to bring his annual salary to more than $103,000, above and beyond what county policy called for.
Hill has earned top scores each year he has been superintendent of the jail and is expected to receive the "highest available" evaluation at a meeting Wednesday, according to the board's chairman.
Cleil Fitzwater, the county's human resources director, said Hill's scores are quite rare and would place him within the top 5 percent of all county employees in any given year.
Stoffregen declined to comment on the evaluations. He said Friday that he stands by his earlier campaign statements.
"If I said it, I meant it," Stoffregen said.
In the series of written evaluations -- which Hill provided to The Washington Post last week after a reporter requested the documents -- Hill is praised for his independent and forward-thinking approach at the jail over the last decade. He earned scores of 49 out of 50 from 1996 to 1999 and has since earned perfect 50s. Those scores have earned him a seven-step merit raise every year since 1996, the highest the county provides.
The forms are standard executive management performance evaluations from the county's Office of Personnel. They cover a variety of categories, such as "management, leadership and organizational direction," "planning and priority setting" and "communication." Hill was also evaluated on annual goals and individual performance.
In 2001, which was Hill's most recent evaluation because of administrative changes on the board last year, Hill was praised as maintaining great credibility with the jail board.
"Colonel Hill continues to be a superior superintendent who is a leader among his peers," wrote Police Chief Charlie T. Deane, chairman of the jail board's personnel committee. "He has the universal support of the jail board."
Deane declined to comment for this story.
Patrick Hurd, the board's chairman, said he was disappointed when he learned of Stoffregen's comments because he thought they were inaccurate and poorly reflected on the entire board membership. Hurd described Hill has the "CEO" of the jail, handling the daily management of the facility, generating ideas and pushing improvements.
"We as a board act as a sounding board," Hurd said. "To be honest with you, all of the ideas and suggestions flow from Col. Hill and his staff. In my opinion, we have never perceived Col. Hill as a puppet of ours."
In the first months of his campaign, Hill has been quick to say that he thinks Stoffregen has mismanaged the Sheriff's Office, taking it in directions that threaten to duplicate police services and causing unnecessary turmoil within the county. Stoffregen came right out of the blocks saying that Hill's idea of taking the office back to its core duties at the courthouse will be a step backward.
Hill said he wants to be innovative as sheriff but not to the point of creating problems and wranglings with other county departments. Hill said that he was disappointed to hear Stoffregen criticize him but that he chalks it up to politically motivated rhetoric aimed at people who don't know him.
"I want people to know that I will step up and challenge the issues," Hill said. "Here I am stepping up and challenging some issues that I think are wrong. I don't think puppets do those types of things."