A small imbroglio, supposedly resolved over a month ago, flared up again last week when a planning commissioner brought it up at a Haymarket Town Council meeting.
The situation started June 14, when Stephanie Glaze, then Haymarket's deputy clerk, wrote a letter to then-mayor David P. Taylor accusing a town councilman of making sexual advances toward her and of ordering an evaluation of her work after she rejected him.
A half-hour after Glaze filed her complaint, the town started an investigation, said Taylor, who stepped down as mayor last month because he moved outside of town and Haymarket requires its mayor to be a town resident. "To get a letter like that caused me grave concern," Taylor said.
The harassment investigation, conducted chiefly by Jennifer Lee Parrish, a Fredericksburg lawyer, lasted until the end of the month, when Glaze dropped the issue and quit her job. In a June 30 letter, Glaze did not specifically withdraw the accusations of sexual harassment, but stated that she had "a completely different perspective" after discovering it was the Town Council that ordered an evaluation of her work, and not Councilman James E. "Jay" Tobias, the subject of her complaint.
The next day, Parrish e-mailed the mayor recommending that the investigation be stopped, stating that, given the circumstances, it did not appear there was a sexual harassment complaint.
The issue had been kept quiet until last Saturday's meeting, when residents were given the opportunity to raise concerns about town issues. Planning Commissioner Dottie Leonard spoke up to say that she was concerned about the council's treatment of Glaze. Leonard, a former town council member, said she'd heard of the incident only after Glaze quit and did not know the matter had already been investigated.
"I'm really sorry that she was going through all of this alone and never told anyone," Leonard said.
Tobias said Leonard should have known that the situation with Glaze was a personnel issue and therefore confidential. "I'm concerned that the truth needs to come out," he said.
On Tuesday, Glaze wrote a letter to Tobias unequivocally acknowledging that he did not make advances toward her and that she had been wrong to say so.
The evaluation of Glaze's work was part of a larger effort to improve the efficiency of various town departments, Taylor said. The town had spent about $10,000 over the course of six months evaluating various offices, including the police department. Parrish was already doing other investigative work for the city in June, Taylor said. In late June, Police Chief James E. Roop and Sgt. Gregory Breeden received 15-day suspensions for reasons that were kept confidential.
Leonard said the episode with Glaze was just one of what she characterized as a few troubling issues involving the town council, which she said needs to be more open.
"I'm very concerned about her, as I am concerned about our entire town," Leonard said.
"There are a lot of people who are not happy in Haymarket. It's a wonderful town. It's a wonderful place to live. We just need different leadership."