Controversial Loudoun Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio on Wednesday night was granted access to $120,500 in county funds for a Sterling district office budget – the same amount as his fellow board members for their districts – but not before a flare-up with fellow eastern Loudoun Supervisor Suzanne Volpe.
Delgaudio (R) was afforded the district budget allocation one year after being stripped of the funds, this following the report from a special grand jury investigating allegations he misused public assets. The report did not bring forward criminal charges against Delgaudio, but a summary of the grand jury's findings noted that Delgaudio likely did abuse county resources, but that his actions weren't illegal because of a technicality in state law.
Delgaudio requested the return of his office budget Wednesday -- three weeks after a judge dismissed a recall petition seeking to remove the Sterling supervisor from office, a petition that involved the same allegations the grand jury investigated.
The Sterling supervisor widely declared victory following the judge's dismissal, but Volpe (R-Algonkian) and Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) on Wednesday remained cautious and critical of Delgaudio's behavior.
Following Delgaudio's motion to return his district office funds, Volpe made a substitute motion that would have delayed returning the funds until a new, public assets-limiting ordinance is implemented. Supervisors on Wednesday advanced a draft of that ordinance, which criminalizes misusing public assets for any county official, and the measure will likely be finalized in September.
The substitute motion failed 3-6, with only Volpe, Buona and Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) voting in favor. The final motion to restore Delgaudio's district funds passed 8-1, with Volpe opposing.
Buona made public note of Delgaudio's past behavior by reading excerpts from the motion to dismiss the recall case.
“It's about treating people the way you would like to be treated yourself,” Buona said before going into the excerpts.
“[Former legislative aide for Delgaudio Donna] Mateer was clearly treated poorly,” Buona read from the motion to dismiss “… the commonwealth finds entirely credible Mateer's claims that Supervisor Delgaudio constantly put her and other aides down verbally. The commonwealth believes Mateer when she says that Supervisor Delgaudio berated and degraded her emotionally and mentally abused her and was demanding, impatient and verbally abusive …”
Buona said, “While that's not criminal, it paints a poor picture of management, a poor picture of the way I like to see tax dollars spent. Going forward, I would just hope that [Delgaudio] can run a ship that has respect for everybody.”
Volpe, meanwhile, questioned who was drafting Delgaudio's motions for Wednesday night, reading an email from a woman with the proposed resolution. Volpe said that woman has never worked for the county or the supervisor in any official capacity.
Volpe then said that some Republican volunteers ran into Delgaudio last weekend knocking on doors with a man who said he was “hoping to be hired as one of Supervisor Delgaudio's aides when he gets his budget back.”
Commented Volpe, “I don't know about anybody else, but if the first thing you did with a potential hire was show them how to knock doors for you; that's not usually my first requirement when I'm hiring someone to be a staff aide."
“I hope I don't need to say anything more,” she added.
Delgaudio quickly interrupted – “Is that another allegation?”
Volpe continued, saying the board should expect Delgaudio, in a later meeting, to come to the board requesting the county reimburse his legal fees.
For his part, Delgaudio said he was simply knocking on doors with “an American citizen” last weekend, and that he's “not campaigning for anything.”
Delgaudio said he's changed.
“I appeal to Supervisor Buona and Supervisor Volpe that you have seen a better supervisor and that I really do need the staff effective immediately,” Delgaudio said.
In addition to withholding Delgaudio's district office budget last year, the board stripped the Sterling supervisor of any committee positions and formally censured him. Volpe stressed that those actions were because Delgaudio broke county policy, which is separate from county or state law.