Court documents filed June 24 related to the now-dismissed recall petition against Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio suggest Delgaudio may have broken county hiring policy by asking a Sterling woman seeking a public position her views on homosexuality, politics and religion.
In an interview with the Times-Mirror, Delgaudio (R-Sterling) did not dispute that he asked questions about social issues, gay marriage and religion while interviewing the woman for a county-funded position, and a formal investigation into Delgaudio's office by Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos found the “supervisor did ask potential staffers their views on a number of politically sensitive subjects."
Donna Mateer, the woman interviewed by the controversial supervisor in 2011, said that during her conversation Delgaudio asked about her “religious beliefs, political choices, marriage and homosexuals.”
The county's General Principles and Governing Policies document states the Board of Supervisors has “declared that the county does not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment based on political affiliation, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
Additionally, Loudoun County, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer, guarantees “fair treatment of applicants and employees in all aspects of personnel management without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other non-merit factors and with proper regard for their privacy and constitutional rights as citizens will be assured” and that “employees will be protected against coercion for partisan political purposes and will be prohibited from using their official authority for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office,” according to county policy.
When then-County Attorney Jack Roberts was asked in late June whether it would be legal for a supervisor to ask someone their religion and views on sexual orientation while interviewing that person for a legislative aide position, Roberts said simply “no comment.”
On further questioning, county spokeswoman Robin Geiger said “county supervisors and managers are expected to comply with all applicable county policies and procedures when interviewing employees for county positions.”
Delgaudio and his attorney, Charles King, say asking someone their sexual orientation or religion during an interview for a legislative aide position isn't illegal because the post is a “political appointment.”
Moreover, “The Commonwealth does not believe that probing about an individual's political and religious beliefs during an interview for a political appointment constitutes misuse of office,” Stamos stated in her motion to dismiss, which was granted June 24.
When asked about his interviewing practices, Delgaudio said, “I think you're asking if a political person can ask political questions, and that was the intent of any questions I asked … I'm not exactly shy about my position on traditional values.”
Delgaudio is the founder and president of Public Advocate of the United States, a conservative advocacy group widely known for its outspoken rejection of gays and lesbians. A leading civil rights advocacy organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has labeled Public Advocate an anti-gay hate group.
Delgaudio interviewed Mateer at a Chic-fil-A restaurant, hired her in August 2011 and fired her roughly six months later.
Legislative aides for county supervisors are publicly funded, “at will” employees who are not entitled to the same workplace protections as other county staff.