Threat against Purcellville councilwoman faces internal investigation
Council will not be launching a third-party investigation just yet, but the option has not been ruled out.
“We don’t want to rush into these things,” Mayor Kwasi Fraser told the Times-Mirror. “We need more info before we can go forward.”
The two-hour closed meeting with Town Manager Robert Lohr and Attorney Sally Hankins seemed to leave some council members with more questions than answers. Because the alleged threatener is a current town employee, council was not allowed to ask about or discuss certain details.
“There are so many unanswered questions,” Town Councilman Doug McCollum told the Times-Mirror. “As far as I know, things aren’t nailed down.”
What is known is this: On March 5 Grim received emails from two former town employees, as well as two anonymous emails. These four emails notified Grim of an alleged threat that may have been shared virtually at an earlier date by a current town employee. Grim was not aware of the alleged threat before March 5. The alleged comment was physical, but not life threatening.
Mayor Kwasi Fraser called a special emergency meeting Monday night, but the vote to go into closed session died 3-4, as council members believed Freedom of Information laws required a three-day public notice in this case. On Friday, only McCollum voted against the closed session.
He also voted against council’s decision to continue the internal investigation.
“I don’t see how the council can walk the narrow line between permissible inquiry and stepping over into the area of acting as an investigatory function,” McCollum said, proposing that the council immediately include a third party.
After the closed session, Grim moved that council open an investigation with state police, adding that she was “more disturbed” after the discussions. Her motion was not seconded.
Fraser has not ruled out an outside investigation of some sort, saying that the closed meeting provided clarity of what is being done to investigate the matter. Any further decisions should be made soon, he said.
Council is also putting together a whistleblower policy so Purcellville employees can share concerns safely and anonymously, Fraser said.
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