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McAlister reinstated as Purcellville’s police chief

Cynthia McAlister
Cynthia McAlister is back as Purcellville's chief of police – sort of.

The town on Wednesday reinstated McAlister as chief, but she remains on paid administration leave pending an audit of the previous investigation that led to her firing on Nov. 2.

McAlister is currently receiving back pay for the weeks since her termination, according to her attorney, John V. Berry of Reston.

“We are very pleased with the town’s decision and will work with them through the audit process,” Berry said. “Chief McAlister is pleased with this decision.”

The reinstatement comes amid one of the most tumultuous periods in the Town of Purcellville's history.

McAlister was fired following a heavily questioned investigation that claimed the chief acted outside the scope of her duties and ran afoul of town policies and procedures. That investigation – which was allegedly sparked by complaints from members of the Purcellville Police Department command staff – was conducted by a private human resources investigator, Georgia Nuckolls.

On Sunday, Purcellville town officials revealed Nuckolls had numerous criminal convictions in the 1990s and was also carrying on a relationship with a town employee involved in the investigation against McAlister. Nuckolls' convictions in North Carolina in 1997 included felony financial card fraud, felony financial card theft, forgery of instrument and common law forgery.

Interim Town Manager Alex Vanegas was the acting interim town manager who hired Nuckolls for the investigation. He was placed on leave Monday. The town is in the process of retaining an independent investigator to conduct an audit and investigation of actions taken by Vanegas over the last several months.

The town is also in the process of bringing in a new manager to handle day-to-day operations.

“Until we have this individual on board, Hooper McCann, in her role as director of administration, will have the full authority to conduct town business in the capacity of an Interim Town Manager,” Mayor Kwasi Fraser said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

Purcellville has been awash with alleged mismanagement and high-level departures in 2017.

Former Town Manager Rob Lohr resigned in June – many observers have suggested he was forced out by council – and Assistant Town Manager Danny Davis left his post Sept. 30 to become president of Tribute Assisted Living in Ashburn. Daniel Galindo resigned as the town's senior planner to work with Loudoun County's Planning and Zoning Department in June.


Meanwhile, our tax dollars continue to fund this whole mess.  Tis the season of giving I suppose.

Levier: Patrice Clair ... The only mention of her is the original story on the council’s vote of no confidence in the Chief.

I find it strange that all the reports about the “validity” of the investigation in light of the allegations against Ms. Nuckolls and Mr. Venegas fail to mention her. Could it be an agenda is being pushed ???

At best it’s intellectual dishonesty.

@Dilligaf Since you brought up the independent HR attorney, who is this person?  I can’t seem to find the name of the independent HR attorney.

Pville Observer, I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that because Chief McAlister was voted in unanimously she couldn’t do the things she has been found to have done? I think that’s a stretch at best after all good people are “voted” into high office all the time and do bad things ....

As to your assumption that the Purcellville PD’s “antics and disarray” ... are you saying the men and women who serve(d) this town as police officers are less than professional? If you are I for one would like to see some evidence to back that assertion up. Remember they did win Accreditation twice before Cindy McAlister arrived to “save them”.

“Bottom line” on the investigation is this. While it can be said that the results need to be looked at again due to the allegations being tossed about ,,, We still have the INDENPENDENT third party HR Attorney who upheld the findings to begin with. I know many would like to gloss over that fact and push the narrative of Nuckolls record or her and Mr. Venegas’ alleged relationship ..

But the fact remains that a third party was already involved and the truth is already out there ,, whether many like it or not. 

Pville Observer - I could not have summed it up better!

Despite all the articles on this subject – I still have no firm understanding what happened to kick off this cluster. 

Maybe someone can lay out a timeline of events and actions and findings that led to all this reporting and flip-flopping.

Citizens of Purcellville wake up and and take note.  Next election vote out the Mayor, Vice Mayor and town council Time to get some people who have integrity and no how to lead.

Purcellville could be a TV show- a reality show that is part comedy and part drama.

The following quote was taken from the Purcellville Mayor’s letter to the Citizen’s of Purcellille.

“As Mayor, I have a responsibility to residents and business owners to safeguard our town and work with management to ensure the structure of our organization is sound.”

While I do not believe that any member of Town Council was “working the system”, I do believe that as elected officials, they are accountable. It would be nice that if once in a while, our local elected officials accepted some level of responsibility, after all, they set the snowball rolling.

Lacey Johnson Poor form by Town Council (TC) members who attempt to defend their unprofessional conduct on social media. The smart and savvy folks of Pville will come understand that Chief McAlister - who was in fact UNANIMOUSLY approved by the Council (despite what others will claim) - is being tried and hanged in public with accusations that could not be further from the truth. If the public were truly aware of the facts, they would not only be extremely alarmed about such incompetency of the TC, but it would also make them sick to their stomach. Look, no one wants to believe that their elected officials - especially Pville’s TC - have a few members that are capable of such egregious behavior. Nope - not in our town. But a few members are working extra hard to try to convince you and others (like the town’s attorney whom they left out of the decision to fire Chief McAlister - Um, that’s odd) that they have ‘facts’ that justify their claims and actions. Facts from an investigation performed by a multi-convicted felon (say whaaat?). Again, we don’t believe that in our small town there could be individuals capable of such smear campaigns or illegal behavior. Why would they go through all the trouble? For years, long before Chief McAlister came onto the scene, the TC has been plagued with management issues; this is a known fact. But here’s the rub: This small stature, unassuming 30-year FFX County decorated officer came to Pville and did NOT turn a blind eye and a deaf year to the antics and disarray of the police department. As a result, she is viewed as a threat to the department and clearly, to some TC members who have become exposed. Bottom line: Chief McAlister did not ‘fit the narrative’ that many on the TC and police department hoped she would - to just lie down and rollover so that the Town may continue with its year-round circus. This is underpinned by select TC members who “Doth protest too much’ - trying tireless to convince you and others that are right in their decisions. And of course they will, because the ‘jig is up’ and their hind-sides are now exposed. The truth WILL set some folks free - free of their duties and ... the truth will reinstate others. Folks: Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.

I wonder what this blunder by the Purcellville leaders will cost its citizens?

This gets more embarrassing by the day. Worse, there has been zero responsibility taken by any town council members. Absolutely no leadership qualities exhibited by the mayor or vice mayor or any other council member for that matter. What a joke.

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