A chastened Supervisor E. Delgaudio listening to the public demanding his censure (photo J. Flannery)
Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio lost his ever-present orange hat, his open smile, his false swagger and his law suit when he tried to prevent the Board of Supervisor from having a hearing last Wednesday on what Mr. Delgaudio did or did not do to abuse staff and misuse and mingle County resources with his gay-bashing hate group and his campaign fund-raising activities.
Mr. Delgaudio said he wanted to know before last Wednesday’s meeting what the Board’s specific charges were.
The Board listed five charges, with the help of Board Member, Mr. Shawn M. Williams, drawing principally upon the 8-page statement filed by Ms. Donna Mateer, a former staffer (submitted last March)(that Mr. Delgaudio has had ever since), and the recent critical grand jury report (June 24, 2013)(that didn’t indict but did plainly identify various kinds of official misconduct by Mr. Delgaudio).
Mr. Delgaudio wanted an opportunity to respond.
Chairman Scott York called the Board into a Committee of the Whole in public so that Mr. Delgaudio could.
When given the opportunity, Mr Delgaudio lost his voice.
Mr. Delgaudio carped, sniveled and complained that he needed more time.
Mr. Delgaudio said his attorney had written a refutation of the grand jury report’s charges. Ms. Volpe said, why wasn’t it submitted to the Board? Mr. Delgaudio gave an unresponsive statement and that that it was on-line. Mr. Matthew F. Letorneau went online during the hearing and found the statement that Mr. Delgaudio’s counsel issued and said it was no “refutation” as characterized by Mr. Delgaudio. Mr. Letorneau nevertheless invited Mr. Delgaudio to read this statement into the record. Mr. Delgaudio declined.
Chairman Scott York responded in the most direct fashion, saying, “Enough is enough.”
Before the formal hearing began, several members of the public urged the Board not to let Mr. Delgaudio bully them.
One of Mr. Delgaudio’s die-hard partisans, Greg Stone, suggested that the Board was missing “the clues,” how this was a “political vendetta,” and he directed the Board to get its “poop in a group” (sic), prompting an uncomfortable silence.
Patti Maslinoff, from Leesburg, told the Board she had come from a “medical procedure,” exhausted, because she wanted to tell the Board how important it is “to live in a County where the government maintains high standards of ethics and expects our public officials to devote themselves to the public good and not to their private interests.”
Matthew Gallelli, from the Blue Ridge District, sang a country song for his two minutes, based on a Bonnie Raitti original, “Yes baby, I’ve been fund raisin’, got some donations from unknown friends,” finishing his performance with the phrase, “It takes a whole lotta money, darling, to make believe that I’m somebody else.”
Mr. Delgaudio has surely been “making believe” he was “somebody else,” manipulating his public trust to serve his private interests.
Six members of the Board rightly concluded this was no partisan problem, and they reviewed in some detail Mr. Delgaudio’s failures as a public servant. Mr. Ken Reid asked Mr. Delgaudio why he’d never showed any contrition. Mr. Delgaudio couldn’t find his voice. Mr. Ralph Buona said he was tired of seeing newspapers with Mr. Delgaudio’s name and picture on the front page detailing his misconduct while Mr. Buona was working so hard to do right by the County. Several members said about the same thing.
Two members, Gerry Higgins and Janet Clarke, made efforts to delay the proceedings, even to obstruct the discipline that the Board ultimately imposed on Mr. Delgaudio.
In the end, the Board said in quite unambiguous terms that Mr. Delgaudio should be censured, lose his committee assignments, his staff aides, and budgetary control except for modest expenses. And that’s what the Board did, with Mr Higgins and Ms. Clarke, the odd persons out on the final vote to take away Mr. Delgaudio’s budget control, notwithstanding the findings of the grand jury he had misapplied the County’s funds..
Chairman York said the Board afforded Mr. Delgaudio the time to respond, and he refused to speak, threatening the Board instead, and serving subpoenas on the Board members.
Mr. York told Mr. Delgaudio he had crossed the ethical line, and had only himself to blame for the discipline he received.
What we can expect next is the citizens of Sterling to file their petition with the Loudoun County Circuit Court to remove Mr. Delgaudio from office.