The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Town of Elkton: The most dysfunctional town in the Commonwealth?

Ok, the Town of Elkton probably isn't the most dysfunctional Town in the Commonwealth, but I'm sure it would qualify for the most dysfunctional local government in the Shenandoah Valley - hands down. It seems that every week to 10 days some sort of controversy or "dirty laundry" concerning the Town's elected or professional leadership makes its way into the local paper of record.

Therefore when I picked up a copy of today's Daily News Record, it was hardly a surprise to read that the current Mayor of the Town, and a council member are having a "war of words". It appears that Councilman Randell Snow, and Mayor Wayne Printz are at odds because Snow would like to see the Mayor be elected by the Council (thus a sitting member of the Council would become Mayor), rather than being popularly elected as the Mayor is now. Of course Wayne Printz is vehemently opposed to this type of arrangement.

Cities and Towns throughout the Commonwealth use both of these systems to elect Mayors, and I don't know that one is inherently better or worse. But in Elkton it sure does give a good reason to roll up the sleeves, and fight it out! I've only lived in the Valley for just over two years, but from what I've heard this latest "controversy" is small beans when compared to the donnybrooks that have taken place in Elkton over the past few years. Here are just a few that I can recall in my short time here in the Valley:

  • A married Elkton police officer's pregnant girlfriend mysteriously goes missing and to this date has not been found. The police officer is under a heavy veil of suspicion, but as in the case of most missing persons "no body, no case."
  • Since the retirement of a long serving Town Manager approximately 6 years ago (correct me if I'm wrong) the Town has been through NUMEROUS Town Managers. Most have lasted only a few months. The present Town Manager has been on the job for less than a year, and he too has been the subject of numerous highly publicised fueds with some of Elkton's elected officials (namely Mayor Printz). Considering the fate of the past few Town Managers, it's hard to imagine the current Town Manager's fate being differnt from his predecessors.
  • The Town approved Angler Development's proposal to rezone hundreds of acres within the Town's corporate limits with (what appeared) little concern of the impact that 1,400 additional residential units would have on the County's school enrollment in an area already in a pinch for classroom space. This contentious issues was not resolved until a recent ex post facto offer to the County's School Board by Angler Development. (Call me crazy but maybe the Town could have examined this issue before the land was rezoned?)

Please if anyone knows of an Elkton related controversy that I've overlooked that has taken place within the past two years, or if you have an even better Elkton controversy that you would like to share, I'd love to hear about it. When you consider that Rockingham County has seven incorporated Towns (including Elkton) why is it that Elkton is the one Town that seems to receive the most negative attention on a consistent basis?


  • At 12/27/2005 7:25 PM, Blogger republitarian said…

    You forgot about some officers pulling over girls for "speeding" and then teeling them they could get out of trouble for "favors". Mayor Lee Dearing and his son had all sorts of problems for this.

    His son was arrested for something stupid then was found using a stick pin to keep his shoe together in the jail and was charged with posession of a deadly weapon.....

  • At 12/27/2005 7:30 PM, Blogger republitarian said…

    Jason hasn't been treated as "good" by the judicial system as Chad Farley, the sheriff's son....

  • At 12/27/2005 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Every county seems to have that one town that has a reputation for being full of malcontents, thugs, punks, druggies, loose women, etc etc..
    in Augusta County, Craigsville fits the bill. Name some others if ya want for other localities

  • At 12/28/2005 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Every community has its good, bad and indifferent elements. It just seems so much worse when bad behavior is committed by public officials. Oh yea, it really is much worse.

  • At 12/28/2005 9:33 AM, Blogger valley iconoclast said…

    Isn't Harrisonburg's mayor selected by the city council? It seems crazy that there aren't directly elected mayors in every city and town.

    BTW, Elkton controversy are far too numerous to mention. Besides you'll be opening a can of worms because these people fight harder than even the Republitarian.

  • At 12/28/2005 11:00 AM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    The City of Richmond just change to a popularly elected mayor recently (with justice department approval) I think the logic is that a strong mayor give a "the buck stops here" impression..

    As I've mentioned, I haven't heard why one system is better than the other..

  • At 12/28/2005 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Elkton should be ashamed of itself and how unprofessional it behaves.
    The mayor has serious power issues. Just last year the town attempted to have it's charter amended to allow the Town Manager to have general administrative authority over the police department, for what ever reason the p.d. had been under the purview of the mayor. Printz went all the way to Richmond to fight this, and won. Shouldn't the manager be given power to run the day-to-day operations?

    Mayors elected at large are not uncommon in Virginia's municipal system. There are advantages to both forms, but in reality Printz along with other mayors whether appointed internally or elected at large function as figure heads for the community and individuals who maintain order in public meetings. As far as running the day to day operations those town's with managers that are given autonomy to do their jobs function wonderfully those with busy body mayors like Printz perform like.... well Elkton

    Speaking of the manager, look a little closer into his history, he was a former town manager in a town called Bowling Green in Caroline County, VA, but before that he was a council member NOT a trained public administrator who was appointed during a vacancy in the manager's position. That may be part of the current conflict. He may be trying to be the eighth council member.

    There’s lots idiotic moves Elkton has made, but in one simple phrase its a lack of professionalism in the entire community always has and probably always will.

  • At 12/28/2005 12:32 PM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Interesting, i knew that the current town manager of elkton was indeed dismissed (ie fired) from his former job in bowling green. i didn't mention this because i didn't think it had too much to do with the current pickle he seems to be in at elkton (which it very wll may not). but anon. you bring up an interesting point, he was a council member in bowling green, and then became their town manager. indeed that sounds like a very odd situaiton.

  • At 1/27/2006 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    elkton is not nearly as dysfunctional as the DNR makes it seem. maybe if this town had some decent journalists who knew the facts so many "cans of worms" wouldn't be opened. and by the way will vaught, who do you think you are to judge everyone else?

  • At 3/03/2006 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To the Coment 9 Republitarian at 7:25 PM on this blog,how demented and low can one person go? To dredge up a subject that was ajudicated year's ago, is so dispecable, and shows what a crass individual you are. I would say you should be ashamed of yourself, but than, anybody who would post a nasty blog such as you did, has no conscience. What skeletons are in your closet??? Do you so readily disparage good, decent people for your own self-gratification? Does that make you feel superior? Does that make you a self important big boy, (or girl)??? Talk about dysfunctional - look in the mirror!!! Do you like what you see, or do you cringe at the image? Think about it, and think long and hard about your own discretions. Would you like someone to bring up yours and post them on the website? Thank God the majority of people in Elkton are good, decent people, who live with dignity, respect and love for their fellow neighbors. I suggest you follow their example.


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