Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) is not exactly known as an oratorical dynamo on the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors. In fact he’s often not even present for meetings, boasting the highest absence rate of any of the supervisors. When he is there you’d hardly know it most of the time, since he usually never utters a word and just votes in lockstep with the rest of the Board.
But there was Geary on Wednesday night holding forth with more energy and passion than we’ve ever seen him, unleashing a flood of eloquence in what is apparently a cause very close to his heart: namely, saving ethically challenged fellow supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s hide.
Geary, along with Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) were the only members of the Board to back Delgaudio’s insistence on delaying any censure vote until the Board had appointed its own ad hoc committee to conduct its own investigation of the same ethical, financial, and managerial malfeasance thoroughly documented by the special grand jury that investigated Delgaudio. Geary kept sticking up for Eugene’s “due process” rights — the specious argument Delgaudio’s attorney tried with no success whatsoever to make in court Wednesday morning as he sought an injunction barring the Board from taking disciplinary action against Delgaudio. Geary said the Board “needed to have all the facts in front of it” before making a decision. Geary insisted, “I believe we should do the right thing, not the fast thing.”
Higgins and Clarke then succeeded in having the Board split into separate votes the three sanctions that it proposed to impose on Delgaudio, and the duo cast the sole dissenting votes (along with Delgaudio himself) to oppose placing Delgauio’s district budget under the Board’s control.
It was a very odd performance to say the least.
One possible explanation was the equally strange vote that Delgaudio cast a few months ago to provide the one vote, 5–4 majority approving funding of a full-time position to implement the rural economic strategy, a matter of great concern to the Western Loudoun districts Higgins and Clarke represent. Eugene has in the past shown nothing but contempt for Loudoun’s rural economy, and it certainly raised eyebrows at the time that he was suddenly voting not only to spend money, but to spend money on something he had derided in the past.
As much as we appreciate it here in Western Loudoun, it seems like doing a deal with Delgaudio to get him off his corruption rap might be taking constituent service just a bit too far.
Or does Eugene have something on Clarke and Higgins, as he claims to on York, regarding campaign fundraising irregularities?
Credit it where it is due, Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) very swiftly and effectively rebutted Higgins’s and Delgaudio’s specious arguments about “due process” and having the Board conduct its own hearings. Letourneau pointed out that the grand jury had already gathered the facts, which were fully before the Board; that due process had been served; that a Board investigation would take a huge amount of time and money and would simply duplicate the grand jury’s work — if even that, since the Board has no subpoena power, cannot require testimony to be given under oath, and lacked the staff resources to summon witnesses.
Also, we have to give the Idiot Prize, as usual, to Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) who made the single most asinine as well as morally appalling argument for why she was voting to censure Eugene: it was to spare him the “shame” of having to have all the testimony repeated on video in a public hearing that would parade all of his problems before the world: as she explained, she was raised to believe that “Republicans were family” and “you don’t shame family.” No comment necessary.
We also liked how Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) and Volpe both profusely thanked Eugene for all the political advice and help he had given them on their campaigns, which made them, they said, especially sad to have to censure him for his naughtiness now.
Delgaudio for his part offered several new “theories” to explain why he was being picked on so unfairly. It of course had nothing whatever to do with his conduct or behavior: it was that the other members of the all-Republican Board want to “appease the Washington Post” and that “they don’t like my style.”
Eugene said to NBC4 TV: “I understand what the Board is trying to say. They don’t like my style and they aren’t used to the Sterling style, which is to stand your ground and stand for what you believe in.”
He also announced he is running for re-election.
Barring any exciting Delgaudio developments, realloudoun, like our hard-working, all-Republican Board of Supervisors, will be taking a richly earned break the next two months. Unlike the Board, we will not be paid for goofing off, but never mind — that’s civic duty for you.
See you all in September!