In light of last month’s proclamation controversy, Leesburg Town Council will be agreeing to several resolutions that members hope will reduce the chances of future conflict.
“This is not supposed to be an adversarial process, it’s supposed to be a celebration,” Councilman Ron Campbell said. “It’s not political, it’s about the people.”
During the May 28 and June 11 council meetings, Councilman Tom Dunn wrote brief messages instead of his signature on three proclamations to honor Moms Demand Action for Gun Violence Awareness Month, Equality Loudoun for LGBTQ Pride Month and the Loudoun Freedom Center and NAACP for Juneteenth.
The NAACP, Equality Loudoun and several council members called for Dunn to resign in the weeks following. Dunn apologized and has since signed new copies of the proclamations with his signature.
During its July 8 work session, council discussed several new rules that would change proclamation procedure significantly. Rules to only sign signatures on proclamations and to not have council members sign for each other received unanimous approval.
Council also agreed to change the procedure to get a proclamation to a meeting. Previously, one council member could ask staff to add a proclamation to the agenda, but the rest of council would not know about it until a few days before council met. Council members had to ask to have their signature lines removed from a proclamation if they did not support it.
According to council’s proposed rules, every proclamation will require an official council member sponsor and will be shared with council earlier. Proclamations will automatically include signature lines for the mayor and the sponsor. Other council members can ask to have their names added. Proclamations will be distributed at 6:30 p.m., with the regular business meeting to begin as usual at 7 p.m.
Thiel, who also received calls to resign after signing a sentiment on the Pride Month application at the request of the absent Dunn, put forward the rules to only sign signatures and not allow council members to sign for each other.
“I think there have to be some rules established going forward so incidences like what happened last month won’t occur,” Thiel said.
Council will officially vote on the new proclamation rules at its July 23 meeting.