Some members of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors are responding to citizen concerns about Chief Deane’s freelance diplomatic efforts with agents of a foreign government, while others incongruously are trying to defend this outrage. Emails obtained from some of the Supervisors pursuant to a Freedom of Information Request provide a fascinating look at the strange dynamic going on here as Chief Deane scrambles to justify his actions, while some members of the Board are seem more interested in defending whatever Deane has done without fully understanding what that is than trying to figure out what the heck is going on here.
After a barrage of emails from constituents, Chairman Corey Stewart wanted to get some answers. This is what he sent to Chief Deane trying to get them:
I found out through the press this morning that you are planning on having a meeting with the Mexican consul concerning the Board’s policy on Illegal Immigration. I have several questions I would like to have answered and provided to the Board before the 7 p.m. meeting tonight.
1. Who initiated the first meeting with the Mexican consul?
2. How many meetings have occurred, when and where have they occurred, what specifically has been discussed at these meetings and were notes taken to be provided to the BOCS?
3. How long has this meeting tonight been planned?
4. Do you have any plans to meet with other Foreign National Government officials?
5. Was the U.S. Department of State contacted to ensure proper diplomatic protocol is being met in
regards to these meetings? If so, who was contacted and when?
6. Did you inform the County Executive of these meetings? If so, who was contacted and when?
7. Did you inform any of the Board of County Supervisors of these meetings? If so, who was contacted and when?
8. Did you contact or seek advice from the County Attorney’s office regarding these meetings to ensure that the County is in full compliance of Federal Law? If so, who was contacted and when?
9. Which Mexican National Government officials have you been meeting with and what is their contact information?
10. Were any members of our Congressional Delegation notified of these meetings? If so, who was contacted and when?
My office is being contacted by many citizens who would like information regarding this meeting.
I’d like to know the answers to these questions, myself. I’m sure may readers would as well.
So what was Chief Deane’s response to these questions? He did not answer them. Excuse me? Here’s the Chairman of the Board asking a county employee questions about what he has been doing in his official capacity, and the Chief won’t even answer questions?
I have received your email regarding the community meeting tonight at Hi-Mart in Woodbridge. This is a general informational session with the community that is consistent with meetings that have already been held throughout the County. Informational meetings of this nature have been endorsed by the Board as part of the County’s public education and outreach efforts. That being the case, I am puzzled by the specific questions that are being posed, and would like to further discuss them with you at your earliest convenience. I will be in the office at [redacted] or enroute to the meeting. My cell number is [redacted].
As a side note, the County Attorney indicates providing information that has been given publicly at numerous other meetings does not raise any immediate red flags.
Note here there’s no response to the questions the Chairman asked, but this lame excuse that Chief Deane interprets the actions of the board as an apparent blanket authorization to enter into discussions with the agents of foreign governments without any notice. Deane is “puzzled” that anyone would ask what he’s been doing, and wants to discuss the questions, but not provide written answers to them. Even if Deane can be encouraged to answer the questions asked of him, the answers aren’t going to show up until well after the joint meeting with the Mexican Consul has happened. Isn’t this the very kind of insubordinate behavior that Deane is legendary for stamping out within his department?
But being insubordinate often won’t carry much in the way of penalties when some members of the board will reflexively defend the actions of the Chief no matter what, and support the Chief’s non-responsiveness to the Chairman’s questions.
Marty Nohe responds with a “that’s good enough for me”, and apparently doesn’t haven any interest in finding out the answers to the Chairman’s questions:
Thank you Chief. For my 1/8th, this answer suffices to address the concerns expressed.
Here’s Frank Principi’s response, which takes a somewhat different tack. He’s outraged that someone dare question what the Chief does, and demands an opportunity to put an end to any questions about what this public official is doing in his official capacity:
Your note below is completely inappropriate, undermines the working relationship we have with the Police Department, and challenges the integrity of our Police Chief. As such, I have to object to this staff directive. According to our rules of procedures, I ask that it be converted to a resolution and introduced on the dais for a vote.
Supervisor Frank J. Principi
And John Jenkins weighs in, with the same effort to shield the Chief from any accountability:
In accordance with the BOCS rules of procedure I object to this directive and request that it be brought to the BOCS for action by the Board.
JOHN D. JENKINS, Neabsco District Supervisor
And Maureen Caddigan seems to agree with some of her colleagues that it’s unfair that anyone might question what the Chief does:
I disagree with your request to the Chief. He works for the County Executive and I feel he has acted appropriately. I do not concur with your demand and I agree with my fellow board members who also share my view.
Apparently some Supervisors are just fine with what appears to be insubordination by county employees, and think it’s inappropriate for the Chairman to respond to citizen demands for answers by asking county employees what they’ve been doing. I suppose they’d be equally fine with ignoring citizen concerns about how our taxpayer dollars are spent, and would shield county employees from questions regarding fraud, waste and abuse of our tax dollars. This is utterly ridiculous. Of course the Chairman has the right to ask questions of our public employees.
Supervisor John Stirrup responds with a display of much-needed sanity here, and takes his fellow board members to task for objecting to the Chairman’s attempt to understand what the heck is going on here:
If the Chairman and the Board of County Supervisors, who are ultimately responsible for public policy in the county, are not allowed to ask questions of a County employee, then who’s authority is being undermined?
Public outreach and education are appropriate, but what purpose is served by meeting with representatives of the government of Mexico, a country that advocates and promotes the illegal entry of millions of their citizens into the United States? Does the Mexican Government support the County’s Rule of Law Resolution and its implementation or will they work at cross purposes? Further, the optics of a representative of Prince William County meeting with representatives of the Mexican Government sends a confusing and conflicting message to our citizens who strongly support implementation of the Rule of Law resolution. Our citizens, who elected us, may well question if our authority is being undermined and challenged.
At least there are some members of the board who would question why the Chief of Police has taken it upon himself to enter into secret discussions with agents of a foreign government who clearly wish to undermine efforts to enforce the law in Prince William County and might object to a joint meeting with agents of a foreign government. If our elected officials can’t even ask what our public employees are doing in the positions of public trust that they’ve been placed, our government is not run by the people, for the people, but by the bureaucrats for the bureaucracy. It’s outrageous that some elected officials would defend this active subversion of democracy.
I imagine that the next meeting of the Board of County Supervisors is going to be plenty lively. It should be.
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