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Purcellville police chief on leave; questions swirl around town’s personnel changes

Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister is on administrative leave. Courtesy Photo
Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister's sudden administrative leave is the latest in a series of questioned personnel changes in the small western Loudoun town.

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

Alex Vanegas, interim town manager, confirmed this week McAlister is currently on administrative leave.

Vanegas released a statement saying: “Chief McAlister is on administrative leave pending an investigation. Please demonstrate respect for our town, the investigation process, and the chief and her right to privacy. The moment we are able to comment on this matter we will, but not a moment before. We hope to have this situation resolved shortly.”

McAlister was hired in June 2015 after retiring from the Fairfax County Police Department. She has 35 years of police experience working in various fields of police operations and is the first woman to serve as chief of police in Purcellville.

Lt. Joe Schroeck is currently serving as the acting chief.

Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser said he could not comment because it is a personnel matter.

Town Councilman Ryan Cool said he is not concerned with the recent changes on the town's staff.

“If people choose other employment growth opportunities, such as Daniel Galindo or Danny Davis, I encourage professional growth, and that doesn't concern me at all. Mr. Galindo went from a role in a small town to a large county, and Mr. Davis went from an assistant role to a director position in a new industry after being offered the opportunity for growth,” Cool said.

Vanegas echoed Cool's comments, adding, “ … When it comes to my staff, I always believe in developing my employees so that they can grow within the organization, but if the opportunity is not afforded to them on their time frame, then I’m confident that they can be leaders for another company or organization.”

Many residents, however, have taken to social media to question the staff departures and the town's leadership, including former Mayor Bob Lazaro, who was more measured in a statement to the Times-Mirror than he has been on social media.

“It takes a long time to build a good team,” said Lazaro, Fraser's predecessor who did not seek re-election in 2014. “It's unfortunate people are leaving.”

Comments


Chief Mcalister runs a tight ship
And perhaps some of the prior members
of the force can’t take the heat
Also elected officials and acting whoever’s
Should realize that elections are coming soon
The Chief brings 30 plus years of experience and we all benefit from it
And the general public may see their pettiness


you all have no idea what you are talking about.


Can I get a clarification from Loudoun Times on former town manager, did he resign or retire.  The May 11 article says he retired.


Interesting.  Why wasn’t there a story when all of the other town employees left?  I remember 6 or 7 years ago when there was a flight from finance and admin but no one is bringing that up.  Selective memories.


The town would be better served if they kept the chief and put the mayor & council members on administrative leave.


Wasn’t that long ago that Mayor Fraser went on record addressing similar concerns that he doesn’t believe there is a “black and stormy cloud” over P-Ville. Look up! Its dark and plenty of precipitation is coming down. Councilman Cool and Interim Town Manager Vanegas and others are simply trying to deflect that in many cases career paths and opportunities come via drama and dysfunction in their former workplaces. Its not a small sample size folks


Ryan Cool might not be worried about our town staff leaving, but the rest of us sure are!  It’s plain and simple since in office, JIMMERSON, COOL, GRIMM, FRASER, OGELMAN have actively run off the talent the town had gathered over the years.  The fact they are gone is one thing, but now the concern is what kind of person would want to replace them in this environment?


Chief Cindy McAlister is one of the best things to happen to this Town in a long time.  She is an amazing person and a true officer of the law with very high morals.  I can’t even imagine what kind of investigation they could have conjured up.  It would be a shame if the current Council ran her out as well.


Citizens of Purcellville wake up and vote out the Mayor and Town Council.  They are getting rid of everyone who get hinders their agenda.

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