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Dispute over mayor’s office continues

New noise ordinance, no more pay-to-play
 
Colonial Beach Town Council members came to an agreement, by way of e-mails and telephone conversations over the last several weeks, to provide Mayor Fred Rummage with office space at 700 Colonial Ave. (where the transit office is located), provided that the mayor indicate his acceptance by notifying council member Sparky Ridgely by Dec. 1, 2010.  In response to council’s proposed action, Rummage said “I do object. This is nothing more than an absolute insult.”  
Rummage further stated “to render me a room in the ‘outhouse’ — the abandoned public works department?  No, thank you.”  According to Rummage, he was not aware of and did not participate in any conversations or e-mails that occurred between council members in regard to his request to reinstate the mayor’s office at Town Hall.

During town council’s Nov. 16 meeting, member Sparky Ridgely read proposed Resolution 57-10 into the record with a request that it be added to the agenda.  The resolution calls for the mayor’s office to be located at 700 Colonial Ave. in the old public works building.  The resolution further affirms two 2009 resolutions which effectively removed the mayor’s office from town hall and prohibited Rummage from being present in town hall without an appointment.  
Rummage objected to the addition of Resolution 57-10 to the agenda. No further discussion was had and so the resolution was not added to the agenda and no vote was taken.  The resolution was proposed in an attempt to solve the ongoing issue of the mayor’s 2009 removal from his office at town hall and the mayor’s September request before the Budget Committee to rescind the 2009 resolutions and provide an office to meet with citizens and perform his duties.
Rummage remains adamant in his desire to have an office in town hall and has sent a letter to the editor, which appears in this edition of the Journal, to clarify his concerns with the 2009 resolutions that prohibit him from visiting town hall without having an appointment or permission from the town manager.  According to council member Steve Kennedy “We looked for a suitable office and we planned to do renovations,” referencing the 700 Colonial Ave. office proposal.  Kennedy informed this reporter that e-mails and phone calls were used to gain consensus by council members to locate an office for the mayor outside of Town Hall.  
The controversy surrounding Rummage’s office is based on town employees’ complaints to council members that Rummage harassed and frightened the women, an allegation that Rummage has called “hogwash.” Council members Steve Kennedy, Sparky Ridgely and former council member David Coombes spearheaded the effort in 2009 to oust Rummage from Town Hall.   
In other matters, council unanimously passed Ordinance 590, a new Noise Ordinance that sets maximum decibel levels and calls for use of sound level meters to determine if a violation has occurred. The new noise ordinance replaces the six-month old pay-to-play ordinance, which required residents and businesses to purchase a permit to play music.
Westmoreland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dean Atkins presented Certificates of Appreciation to Valerie Jones, Resident Manager of Riverwood Apartments, representing F&W Management; Trish King, former town council member; and Major Kenneth Blevins, Sr., CBPD, for their assistance in efforts to decrease criminal activity at Riverwood Apartments.  According to Atkins, a Crime Activity Analysis for years 2006 through 2009 recently completed by Blevins indicates that total 911 calls have decreased 40 percent and continue to decline.
“A difference has been made in this complex,” noted Atkins with the formation of a partnership by the complex owner, complex manager, police department, town government and the Commonwealth Attorney’s office.
Council also unanimously approved Ordinance 591, which moves administration of business and occupational licenses under the purview of the Chief Financial Officer. Council also unanimously passed Resolution 53-10, which vacates two rights-of-way located on school property to the Colonial Beach School Board.
Resolution 54-10 was unanimously passed which is a proclamation that recognizes the generosity of Tommy Edwards for his donation of new flooring for the Mary Nalls Allen Building, also known as the tourism building.
Resolution 55-10 was unanimously passed by council which amends the 2010-2011 school budget to include $163,881 additional funding from the federal government by way of grants and awards.
Resolution 56-10 was also unanimously passed, which authorizes the town manager to pay expenses for the 2010 Community Relations Breakfast, which is part of the town’s ongoing participation in a consortium of professional, business and military neighbors.
Council also passed an In Memoriam proclamation in honor of John B. “Jack” Maguire.   

Kathy Flanagan

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