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Purcellville paid Nuckolls $13K for police chief investigation

LinkedIn/Georgia Nuckolls
The Town of Purcellville paid Georgia Nuckolls, the human resources investigator hired to investigate claims against Chief of Police Cynthia McAlister, more than $13,000.

Nuckolls' contract with the town set her investigation rate at $75 per hour.

Following the revelation that Nuckolls was convicted of several felonies in the late 1990s in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and had a relationship with a town employee involved with the investigation, her work will be re-done by an outside independent firm.

McAlister was fired Nov. 3 amid claims that she acted outside the scope of her duties and ran afoul of town policies and procedures, among other violations. She was reinstated as chief of police on Nov. 23 and is currently on paid administrative leave until the results of a second outside investigation are completed.

In addition, the interim town manager, Alex Vanegas – who hired Nuckolls for the job – has been placed on administrative leave.

Town officials say they are 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 investigation into McAlister was sparked after several members of the Purcellville Police Department's command staff told Vanegas about alleged procedural violations committed by the police chief.

“The key message to the community is that this town council is committed to bringing on an independent third party to audit the chief's investigation and present the findings to us and the community. Town Council members Jimmerson and McCollum, and the management team, are in the process of identifying candidates to conduct the audit. In addition, we are also moving forward on an investigation of the interim town manager by another independent third party. In the coming week we will be able to report progress,” Mayor Kwasi Fraser said.

Fraser said Hooper McCann, the town's director of administration, will serve as interim town manager until a new interim town manager is appointed.

The attorney representing McAlister in her termination grievance process against the town says he has “never seen an investigation so poorly done by a local government or police department” in his more than 18 years working with law enforcement departments and government agencies.


westLoudouner I doubt having 7 of the 15 officers currently serving the department, which included 4 members of the leadership staff (3 sergeants and the Lt) file complaints against the Chief then having those complaints investigated and sustained equals a “hatched job”.

Now one can argue the validity of the investigation in light of the allegations about the Ms. Nuckolls and Mr. Venegas. However, what nobody wants to talk about is the HR Attorney who validated the findings.

With that said I doubt the audit will do anything more than tell us what we already know and uphold the investigation as valid. I suspect the town may opt to allow Mrs. McAlister to resign in lieu of termination this time around. I doubt very seriously they will end up paying her a dime due to this investigation.

This is pocket change compared to what they’ll be paying the Police Chief based on their poorly executed hatchet job.

I’m more concerned that they paid someone $900 to dress as Santa Claus for the Christmas parade.

Yeah, the $13,000 was for the investigation.

Holy Cow! Talk about malfeasance, is the interim town manager still employed?  I’ve always said no help is better than bad help…what a crooked pair swindling the hard working people of Purcellville….a crying shame for sure…

Arguing over whether or not the money paid for this investigation was a waste is not the point. 
People are losing sight of the fact that’s it’s money that the Town and subsequently, it’s taxpayers should have ever had to spend to begin with.  Regardless of what the audit reveals, this whole process has, and will continue to cost us money.  My question is, what is the Town prepared to offer it’s citizens in exchange for this dumpster fire?

How do we know that this was a waste of money. As I have stated on a separate article reference all this ,, there was a third party HR Attorney involved who reviewed the findings before they were presented to council ,, I suspect the audit of the investigation will hold all findings sound.

I understand everyone’s reservations about Ms. Nuckolls’ past but that does not mean she did not conduct a fair investigation or that her findings aren’t sound. Unless my math is off her crimes were more than 25 years ago ,,

My question is what will everyone who is calling this investigation illegitimate say when the audit upholds it as valid?? Will there be a rush to release the background information of that investigator and de-legitimatize those findings as well?

Ben Weber, In all likelihood you are correct. Yes, that $13,000 is long gone and to some it might not be a lot of money. However, given the circus like atmosphere and the clown operation that it was it is a terrible waste of the citizens money. And yes, the next legitimate investigation will cost much more due to the wake of debris that was caused by the Mayor/Council/Vanegas/Nuckolls fiasco. Citizens of Purcellville remember this when you make your next trip to the polls.

Sadly, that $13,000 is gone and I suspect the second investigation will likely cost even more, not to mention the paid leave for all parties involved. I wonder if Pville has Virginia Government Municipality Insurance for these kinds of events or if the residents will have to fit the bill via the General Fund?

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