The Town of Purcellville on Tuesday announced the replacement for the former police chief who left his consequential role in Purcellville to accept a position as the interim chief of police in Charlottesville.
"In light of Chief [Thierry] Dupuis' recent appointment as the Interim Chief of Police for Charlottesville, Virginia, he has agreed to step down from our audit and investigation. Chief Timothy Longo, Sr. (Ret.) has been engaged as a consultant and will be working with Wilson Elser in its audit and investigation," Interim Town Manager John Anzivino said in a prepared statement.
Dupuis' primary function in the Purcellville investigations was to assist with the review of a town-funded investigation into the police chief, who is currently on leave. Longo will now serve in that capacity, town officials said.
Longo formerly served in law enforcement leadership positions in both Charlottesville and Baltimore.
While Anzivino announced Dupuis' "stepping down" Tuesday, Dupuis formally notified the town he was leaving in late December, according to Mayor Kwasi Fraser.
Dupuis' departure was another setback for a town that has been mired in chaos and confusion since late 2017. Town taxpayers are already expected to contribute more than $130,000 for work related to an investigation of the on-leave police chief and an inquiry into town management.
The upheaval began amid Chief of Police Cynthia McAlister's firing in November. McAlister was let go 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 into McAlister, the specific details of which have not been disclosed, was conducted by a private human resources investigator, Georgia Nuckolls. The Nuckolls investigation was called into question after the investigator's criminal history, which includes felony fraud and forgery convictions in North Carolina, was revealed by town officials.
Town leaders also stated in a November news release that Nuckolls was having a relationship with a town employee involved in the investigation.
Nuckolls has not responded to numerous requests for comment.
Chief McAlister was re-hired Nov. 24 and placed on leave until the audit of Nuckolls' investigation and additional investigations into town management conclude.
Former Interim Town Manager Alex Vanegas, who is now on leave, added to the confusion when he filed a sexual harassment complaint against Town Attorney Sally Hankins, who denies the allegation.
The Wilson Elser law firm, which was brought on by Town Council to oversee several investigations into town management, recommended Hankins and Human Resources Manager Sharon Rauch be placed on leave. According to a statement from the town, the move was made to ensure the integrity and complete review of all open concerns and "is not any indication of any offense by either party."
More than $120,000 in public money has already been designated for the investigations and related actions. That does not include more than $50,000 paid to McAlister, Vanegas, Hankins and Rauch while they've been on leave.
Last week, Town Council approved hiring an interim attorney, Henry Day, at a rate of $350 per hour. Day worked with Anzivino in Warrenton.
Day's hiring adds to the town's recent unexpected expenditures. In addition to the new attorney's contract, which could amount to more than $8,000 a week, costs related to the months-long turmoil include:
-More than $13,000 to Nuckolls;
-Up to $30,000 to Anzivino to serve as interim town manager;
-Up to $80,000 to the Wilson Elser law firm, Loudoun County staff and a retired police colonel to review Nuckolls' investigation, examine Vanegas' work as town manager and investigate Vanegas' complaint against Hankins and other human resources-related complaints;
-And approximately $5,000 to a local media consultant, David D'Onofrio, to handle media inquiries during the investigations.
Town Council did not provide a detailed update on the investigations during its Jan. 9 meeting, although Mayor Fraser said the town would be providing a financial breakdown of the expenses related to the investigations.
"We owe you folks a detailed analysis - and it's owed to this council also - the costs and the expenses that we will be putting forward to [the investigation]," Fraser said. " ... everything that happens that is negative -- and I've gotten emails to prove this -- people are blaming it on, 'Oh, this council is a mess. This town is a mess.' But we are far from a mess. I just want to make sure that we are held accountable by presenting to you exactly where the money is going."