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Purcellville’s town attorney, HR manager placed on paid leave

Purcellville Town Hall
2017 allowed time for yet another twist in the Purcellville saga.

Town officials announced Friday that Town Attorney Sally Hankins and Human Resources Manager Sharon Rauch have been placed on paid administrative leave.

The Wilson Elser law firm, the group brought on by Town Council to oversee several investigations into town management, suggested Hankins and Rauch be placed on leave to Interim Town Manager John Anzivino.

According to a statement from the town, the move is being made to ensure the integrity and complete review of all open concerns and "is not any indication of any offense by either party."

Hankins and Rauch now join former interim town manager, Alex Vanegas, and Chief of Police Cynthia McAlister on paid leave. Vanegas and McAlister alone have been paid more than $50,000 in taxpayer dollars while on leave.

The upheaval in Purcellville began following McAlister's firing in November. McAlister was fired Nov. 2 after a town-funded investigation claimed to substantiate accounts that the police chief abused her powers and failed to adhere to town procedures and policies.

The original investigation was conducted by private human resources investigator Georgia Nuckolls. The findings were called into question after Nuckolls' criminal history, which includes felony fraud and forgery convictions in North Carolina, was revealed by town officials. Town leaders also stated Nuckolls was having a relationship with a town employee involved in the investigation.

McAlister was re-hired Nov. 24 and placed on leave until the new investigations conclude.

Vanegas added to the turmoil when he filed a sexual harassment complaint against Hankins.

Town Council voted earlier this month to spend up to $80,000 in public funds for an investigation with several branches: an audit of the investigation of the police chief; a review of the actions and job performance of Vanegas; and an inquiry into the sexual harassment claims.

A retired police chief and colonel, Thierry Dupuis, was hired at a rate of $125 per hour to assist in the investigations. Loudoun County staff is also aiding in the probes.

Meanwhile, Purcellville is currently accepting applications for a permanent town manager. The town hopes to have a permanent new manager in place around February or March. The deadline for candidates to submit applications is Jan. 12.

Anzivino, a former town manager in Warrenton, was brought on to lead the town during the transitional period. He's being paid $30,000 for his services.


Hey MillerS—I appreciate your loyalty but you completely fail to address my central point—she was convicted of fraud, then hired to conduct an investigation.  I dunno, maybe in a weird way, that makes her MORE qualified, but the point remains: any town that would so badly conduct a background check that they would hire a convicted felon to conduct a fraud investigation is hopelessly messed up.  She may be a lovely person, but she is a convict.  Period.  It is worth mentioning in every story about the chaos in P’ville—precisely because it is prima facie evidence of the chaos.

The simple fact that county citizens are suggesting that our worthless Board of Supervisors take over governing rule of P’Ville says volumes about the confidence in elected town officials.

MillerS - You seem to know Ms. Nuckolls.  Can you let us know who the town employee was that she was in a relationship with and what was the extent of their relationship. If it was one of the cops that complained about McAlister, then yes it would reflect on her investigation.  If it was merely some admin person that was making photo copies then I would agree that it is irrelevant and shouldn’t even be mentioned.

research Columbia, Fluvanna County, it just dissolved 1.5 years ago.

I agree with Loudoun123, the Town of Purcellville should be dissolved. The Police can be absorbed by the sheriffs department, the water system can be managed by Loudoun Water. Lower taxes and no more hyperlocal political kabuki theater.

Those of us in the potentially former town limits would also get FiOS as the county FiOS franchise would take effect. FiOS equipment is in Purcellville and served the unincorporated county areas immediately to the west of the town around Round Hill.

Lower taxes, FiOS, and a larger organization managing the water system. What’s not to like? Who will start the ball rolling on dissolution?

Buffacuse3, yes I am serious.  Ms Nuckolls is an upstanding citizen and the LTM has ruined her rep.  They keep throwing her name out there to take away from the real issues here how the Chief was fired for appropriate reasons.  I am sure once the “NEW” investigation is completed the same results will be reported.  Ms Nuckolls is not and should not be the basis of these articles.  Lets not forget that she was hired due to complaints and let us not forget that after the initial investigation the Chief was fired with a unanimous no confidence vote and only rehired back on Admin Leave with no authority because she hired a lawyer.  Proof is in the eye of the investigation.  The whole PVille staff on admin leave needs to go and this is only because Ms Nuckolls did a thorough job and now more on admin leave for tampering with the initial report, how may I ask is that the fault of Ms Nuckolls, she was just the messenger

The Purcellville town government should just dissolve and become part of Loudoun County. They are already paying taxes to the county for police, parks, etc. anyway, so why keep paying town taxes for this dog and pony show?

If you want someone to bail out this corrupt Town, call Dan Taber down in PWC. He was top notch as a PO for the PWPD and then Police Chief and Town Manager for Dumfries until the crooked (family) Council made him resign. He is a stellar person and great with people.

More reporting without any clarity or specifics about what the original issue was.  Suspended for failure to follow “town procedures and policies”.  What policies, to who did it impact, why the crying, what, what, what happened, or what was reported but didn’t happen. 

The reporting seems like a cluster.

Is there anyone left working for the town government?  It appears they are all no PAID leave….merry christmas everyone…

MillerS…are YOU serious?  A town that hires someone convicted of felony fraud to conduct an investigation is hopelessly messed up—and is worthy of mention every time the situation in discussed. 

Having four people on paid leave, hiring Nuckolls, and all the rest are evidence enough that Purcellville has lost the moral and legal imperative to govern itself. When Detroit when bankrupt, when the Buffalo NY school board did the same, Michigan AND New York stepped in and took over.  How much more taxpayer money needs to be wasted on staff on leave and a PR campaign before the BoS or Commonwealth says enough.

ok LTM are you seriously still throwing Georgia Nuckolls into this situation.  Come on do you now all see where this is going.  Apparently if you read between the lines, Nuckolls report and findings are coming to be legitimate but yes you still insist on throwing her under the bus.  I can just shake my head at the reporting!  Probably wont get this remark published since more than half of my comments are not because they appear to be malicious.  Not a malicious word here

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