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Good Question

By Greg L | 2 December 2011 | Manassas City | 61 Comments

Will Manassas choose a new city manager today, asks A Bridge Too Far?  But more to the point, will anyone bother to pay any attention to the matter and offer their input as citizens?

That’s the crux, folks.  We whine about the decisions that were made, but when those decisions were being deliberated none of us bothered to participate in the process.  Anyone who practices democracy as a spectator sport shouldn’t be surprised when government demonstrates the same effectiveness as a Redskins offense.



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61 Comments

  1. Steve Thomas said on 2 Dec 2011 at 1:12 pm:
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    Because hiring is an HR matter, the meetings are closed to the public.

  2. Doug Brown said on 2 Dec 2011 at 3:35 pm:
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    Steve,

    That’s not the issue I was raising. I looked at the grueling all day sessions which were scheduled for the process and having scouted and put teams of leading experts together for tasks much larger than managing a city the size of Manassas, I couldn’t help but see the Council as actors in the production rather than producers/directors which would be the more appropriate role for them.

  3. Josh said on 2 Dec 2011 at 4:00 pm:
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    I read Doug’s blog and I really like that he called the Vice Mayor out for calling his constituents “buttholes”. That was totally inappropriate, and not the type of behavior that should come from an elected official.

  4. Santa said on 2 Dec 2011 at 4:04 pm:
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    My prediction is a 5 to 1 vote with Aveni the lone wolf no vote. Please prove us all wrong Council!

  5. Steve Thomas said on 2 Dec 2011 at 4:57 pm:
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    Doug,

    My response was to Greg’s post, not a commentary on your blog. It was for informational purposes, in that folks might get the idea that the interviewing and subsequent deliberation over who to hire was done in secret. It’s behind closed doors as a matter of HR policy.

    As far as your blog goes. I’ve read it. I think I have a pretty good idea as to the points you are trying to communicate.

  6. Doug Brown said on 2 Dec 2011 at 7:23 pm:
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    Steve,

    Sorry, if I mistook your post. I wouldn’t think too many people have a problem with the Council interviewing the candidates in closed meetings.

  7. MPResident said on 2 Dec 2011 at 10:07 pm:
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    Mr. Thomas, your key words being HR policy. Why does the hiring of a City Manager have to be done behind closed doors? Who made this POLICY? The City of Alexandria just hired a new City Manager and they had citizen groups along with employee groups that assisted with the hiring process. No reason the most important position in the City of Manassas needs to be done in secret.

  8. AndyH said on 2 Dec 2011 at 10:20 pm:
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    I don’t post often here anymore but personnel matters are always closed items. I don’t know wether Alexandria had some sort of citizen engagement but here’s a quote from ther Vice-mayor:

    “Vice Mayor Kerry Donley would not confirm any of this information. “For obvious reasons, the personnel selection process should and will remain confidential,” Donley said. “However, I think we are still going to meet our schedule to select a new City Manager and have that person under contract by the end of September or the first of October. I’m not saying that the new city manager will be in place by then but I am confident that we are on schedule.”

  9. MPResident said on 2 Dec 2011 at 10:34 pm:
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    Mr. Harrover, I can not speak to the vice-mayor’s comments, but I can assure you the hiring of the Alexandria Manager was not doen in secret. There were several public groups involved in the search. But Alexandria aside, the comment was HR Policy. Why is this a policy and who made this policy? I really don’t consider the hiring of a City Manager a personnel matter. maybe the firing of a City Manager, but not the hiring.

  10. Free Speech Now said on 3 Dec 2011 at 8:56 am:
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    @MP Resident

    If you ask too many questions that upset a certain elected official you will be banned from a certain non-free speech blog site . . .

    @Doug Brown

    Thank you!

  11. Ray Beverage said on 3 Dec 2011 at 10:46 am:
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    What Policy? Aside from various Federal & Commonwealth Labor Laws, toss in the Virginia FOIA. Specifically, 2.2-3711 Closed meetings authorized for certain limited purposes….and more specifically 2.2-3711.A.1 for “discussion, consideration, or interviews of prospective canditates for employment, assignment, appointment…” and I’ll let anyone interested look up the rest of the lines.

    City Council is doing it right by law. Guess some see their process as “damned if they do, damned if they don’t”.

  12. Doug Brown said on 3 Dec 2011 at 11:56 am:
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    Raymond is correct about the “closed” issue but that doesn’t make the process by which the Council’s work was managed correct. My impression of the process is one dictated and designed by the current city manager and the search firm, maybe I’m wrong, maybe the city council itself came up with the all day sessions and the OZ like curtain which enclosed them.

    I guess the first question one might ask is how many city council members have regular day time jobs?

    The second question who came up with the schedule?

    I can’t put forth the 3rd question until the second question is answered.

    Does all this smack of the public micromanaging the Council’s business from the blogosphere?

    It sure does, but many in Manassas have been very dissatisfied with the current city manager over the last several years and their confidence in the city council’s ability to oversee the City Manager’s work rather than be managed by him have been severely tested.

  13. Steve Thomas said on 3 Dec 2011 at 1:47 pm:
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    MPResident,

    Perhaps you should look to the affairs of Manassas Park, rather than those of your neighbor. How the City of Manassas manages it’s affairs does not impact you in the slightest. The fact that Manassas Park is borderline insolvent, should be of great concern to a Manassas Park Resident.

  14. Steve Thomas said on 3 Dec 2011 at 2:18 pm:
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    Doug Brown,

    Please pardon me, but I can’t quite figure out with whom you are taking issue. Is it with City Council for executing a process for hiring a key city employee, and doing so in accordance with the law, or is it with the citizenry for a real or perceived apathy towards the whole affair?

  15. Doug Brown said on 3 Dec 2011 at 2:41 pm:
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    Steve Thomas,

    No, I don’t think I will :-) You said in your previous post in response to mine blog that you had a pretty good idea of the ideas I was trying to communicate. Well do you or don’t you, or you aren’t sure?

  16. Doug Brown said on 3 Dec 2011 at 4:01 pm:
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    @Steve or Ray

    Help, I’m looking all thru the statutes where’s the one about NOT using existing facilities? Were the chambers being rented out for the day? How much did we make?

    Anything in code requiring ‘executing process for hiring key city employee’ must be in a hotel, and should that hotel be in or outside of city limits? Did we get a sweetheart deal? Did one of the council members use their reward points?

    p.s.

    My underlining theme Steve was simply this: please start picking management who you can manage rather than the reverse, a theme applicable beyond current vacancy.

  17. Cromagnum said on 3 Dec 2011 at 4:19 pm:
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    @Free Speech Now
    -Are you referring to a certain blog site that headlines the following subtitle:

    >> “The danger isn’t going too far. It’s that we don’t go far enough.”

    ~~~~
    Is there some irony in that?

  18. Mai Bad said on 3 Dec 2011 at 4:21 pm:
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    Yo..Bros,
    Where is Loudmouth Inciter? I would expect he would be yacking in about Manassas or Prince William politics about now.

  19. Steve Thomas said on 3 Dec 2011 at 5:14 pm:
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    Doug,

    Please look up at the top of the page. We aren’t on your blog. Yes, I’ve read your blog. Never would have, had Greg not linked to it. I read every one of your posts, which didn’t take very long. Since they all tended towards the same theme, it’s not too difficult to figure out the point you are trying to communicate. I did not comment there. I commented here. You chose to engage me here, even though my original comment was not directed at you. My last question was directed at you, and it stands. Answer or don’t answer, it’s a free country.

    As far as answering your question, regarding the “statute” on the use of existing facilities, come’on. Really? I hope you can do better than that.

  20. taknit2thestreets said on 3 Dec 2011 at 5:37 pm:
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    There was some input from citizens into the selection process. The participants of this group were selected by each council member. Council members were asked to submit names they believed would provide information for the consultant that conducted the search as a criteria basis of what the city was looking for in the next city manager. This focus group was divided into two groups meeting on separate occasions. I estimate there were approximately 100-120 citizens that participated in the public process.

  21. Doug Brown said on 3 Dec 2011 at 7:50 pm:
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    Steve,

    You had a problem understanding with whom I was taking issue. It was neither of the choices you gave me, and since it is a free country, I provided you once again a reiteration of with whom and with what I have an issue concerning this process.

    Yes this is Greg’s blog, and in case you missed it Greg used my blog as an introduction into this discussion, so unless one is hyper-linked challenge, it seemed fair to assume my simple theme, made on my blog and here, is admissable to this discussion and as an answer to your question. However, if you would like me to answer your question again - move your mouse over the link and click.

    I hear it is much more civil over there than here, where every man, woman, and mouse must fend for themselves.

  22. Doug Brown said on 3 Dec 2011 at 10:10 pm:
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    @takingit2thestreets

    That’s good and let’s hope the City Council makes a good choice, my simple critique doesn’t preclude the council success, though I do hope someone has done some fine tuning on the termination clause and insure that the firing process is a little more streamlined than the hiring process.

    Here’s my citizen input as to triggering mechanism, and I reliquish all copyright claims:

    Dear Manassas City Manager,

    You’re Fired.

    Sincerely,

    City of Manassas

  23. Ray Beverage said on 3 Dec 2011 at 10:13 pm:
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    Doug, lots to catch up with you on with tossing the questions. Nope, no rule says it has to be offsite, but the Chambers are a crappy place to hold them and if you wanted to keep the process more in line with the privacy of not having other City Employees seeing and speculating, offsite is good. Still, I offer the following in response to the first two questions:

    First, an off-site venu for the interviews: I toss this preposition you may have hit on it with the Contractor arranging use of the Holiday Inn, booking a block of rooms to bring in canditates (since this was a national search), and then have the interview room. Having done more than one type of contract, and having been a Federal Contracting Officer in the Army days, this scenario is a logical method for doing a long string of interviews. And the Contractor managing it by terms of service would do the “dictating” as National Search Firms do that as part of their deal…I remember arranging a Civil Service Senior Executive Search which made me glad it was in a hotel with a bar. Every day ended with a desire for “one for the road” as that was a brutal four days.

    Schedule: Figuring there were a slew of canditates, spreading the inteviews across several days (and I propose there being three days, the last day was mainly deliberations over canditates). Not knowing the exact number of canditates, but can presume there were enough to require at least two days, 8 hours per day to interview, part day to deliberate. Again, in this scenario, the schedule is logical.

    Real Jobs: yeah, brutal schedule. Fortunately, does not come around that often since the last time this occured was back in 1999 when Larry came over from PWC after being chosen. Andy H. expressed over on his blog the schedule has impacted his small business affairs. Have not heard how Mayor or Mark Wolfe handled it, but odds are Marc Aveni had to take leave from his PWC job….unless an exception was granted (doubt that, but wrote it anyway). And let us not forget it ate up time for our City Clerk to be away too, but “joy” of being City Clerk. Chalk it all up to if you want to be a Local Government Leader, then suck it up and drive on!

  24. Ray Beverage said on 3 Dec 2011 at 10:28 pm:
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    @takeitt2thestreets: intersting estimate of the number of citizens you give there. Considering the meeting was never announced as a City Event Calendar item, no City Record was made of it (of course, there is the presentation from the September 6th meeting made to the Council on September 12th). Your “guestimate” is pretty high in my mind since it translates to about 20 residents or representatives of nonprofits per Mayor & Council. But if anyone wishes to see the results of the meeting, see the link below:

    http://www.manassascity.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=4200

  25. Steve Thomas said on 3 Dec 2011 at 10:52 pm:
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    Doug,

    If someone has been confused throughout this thread, it has been you. I didn’t miss the fact that Greg linked to your blog. You just assumed I went and read it. To review:

    Greg posted an article, implying for whatever reason, there has been a lack of input form the citizenry.

    I commented that the meetings are closed. Not a comment, or opinion really. More a statement of fact.

    You piped in: “that wasn’t the issue I was raising”.

    I went and read your post, to see what issue(s) you are raising. I read the linked-to post, as well as your other 3-4 posts. Also noted you started your blog very recently. Few posts, no comments to speak of. Began with a commentary on actions taken by another blog owner, related to the administration of his personal blog, spun to be some sort of disrespect to constituients, followed by an opinion piece bashing the Sesquicentennial, and concluding with a commentary on the process of selecting the new city manager: Picture of an empty parking lot, a quaint reference to a distracted detective, ending with a buried point. Well-written in the sense that there is correct sentence structure, proper grammar, and some attempts at humor, sarcasm, etc. I just chose not to comment on any of it. My choice.

    I responded: My comments weren’t directed to you. [This isn’t your blog. You just assumed I was directing my comments to you]

    I read your responses to others on this thread. Asked you a question. You get snarky.

    First off, if you and I know each other personally, I apologize. I can’t recall ever meeting you. Now I am more than a little bit engaged hereabouts. Been in the scrum for a good long while. Your name doesn’t ring any bells. “Doug Brown” may very well be your real name. I have no reason to believe it isn’t, other than I’ve never heard of you before. No Letters to the Editor. No involvement in the local GOP. Haven’t run into you during my time with HSM, or any of the other fights I’ve joined, and if you were involved, nothing comes to mind, and I remember things. Ask around. It’s what I do. Remember little bits of information, like who-is-who, and put the puzzle together. Now if your previous civic engagement has been limited to posting on various blogs behind a screen name, I can relate. I used to post anon too, here and elsewhere. Did it for a long, long time. If you decided to start your own blog after being shown the door at another, that’s understandable. There’s another local blog that came about after it’s owners were shown the door here. Posting in the clear is different. You have to be a bit more thoughtful in how you express your opinions. You might tick off someone who actually agrees with you on certain issues, but you just rub them the wrong way. Or worse, poke the wrong bear, or pick a fight with the wrong person, and you can end up as someone’s new hobby.

    As a citizen, you have every right [or obligation] to voice your support or opposition to the conduct of local government, in the city in which you reside. You object to spending money on the Sesquicentennial, or how the new City Manager is being hired, or how a certain Councilman put certain posters off of his personal blog, that’s just fine. Express your opinion. Pick your fights. Do your thing. I look forward to reading your blog. Might even comment there if you make an especially stong point I agree with, or write something with which I stongly disagree…and I’ll always sign my name to it.

  26. Doug Brown said on 4 Dec 2011 at 1:01 am:
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    Steve,

    In your review you forgot to mention that I immediately apologized to you for mistakingly responding to your comment, I took it, I believe reasonably, as part of a discussion I had already initiated with Greg by sending him my post. Again I apologize that I assumed you took in more than you did, apparantly you have that problem in regard to yourself as well.

    Now for your other charming posts.

    Steve Thomas I really want to thank you, nothing that I could have written here, or on my blog, could be a better testament to the arrogance, pomposity, and comical haughtiness that has come to afflict so many in high places in local politics.

    We’ve met several times Steve. At polling stations, party conventions, Old Town once, I’m the guy who shook your hand, looked you in the eye, greeted you politely and usually walked away or spoke with someone else. You remember me now? You see Steve you always reminded me of the self-absorbed, self-promoting Party wannabes at the NRC in DC around which I spent a great deal of time in the 80s and 90s, and who eventually played such a prominent role in the collapse of the party in recent years. I warned you once before about the dangers of reading that wack job Ayn Rand, I think it was on this site or Andy’s, I don’t remember, but I’m sure you do because that’s what you do. Ayn Rand, Steve, self-absorbed, deluded wack job Steve stay away from her.

  27. Steve Thomas said on 4 Dec 2011 at 8:06 am:
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    Ok Doug. So we have spoken. Like I said, the name doesn’t ring any bells, so I don’t have a face to put with it. I don’t recall any dire warnings against reading Ayn Rand either. So you have a blog now. Like I said, that’s great. This arrogant, self absorbed party wannabe looks forward to reading your posts, which to date have been nothing more than bombs thrown at either the city government as a whole, or one councilman in particular. Lest we forget, this councilman has solicited citizen input in ways no other city official has. His blog. His Friday open coffee meet-ups where anyone can show up, and tell him their concerns. And what does he get for doing this? He gets folks like you, throwing bombs at him. He’s told you to come to citizen’s time, or start your own blog, if all you want to do is throw bombs.

    So, what do you do? You start a blog. When people don’t flock to it, you do a little self-promotion. “Hey Greg. I wrote what I think is a great post. Please link to it.” Then you anxiously await his readership to comment. Pick a fight or two while you are at it, ’cause everyone likes a good blog fight. Congratulations Doug. You’ve learned how to serve a steak, but rather than serve it on a china plate, you’ve chosen to serve it on a trashcan lid.

  28. Maureen said on 4 Dec 2011 at 12:30 pm:
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    I have to chime in here.

    I’ve known Steve for years and have had great conversations with him. While we don’t agree on everything but he is not self absorbed.

    The Steve I know does what he thinks is right. He is involved. And the best part about him….. He loves his family.

    I have to say I don’t like what Doug has said about Steve on here. Make your points but don’t use character assassination.

  29. Doug Brown said on 4 Dec 2011 at 1:28 pm:
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    Maureen,

    I’ve post on this site and on Andy’s for awhile now. I ‘ve had exchanges with Steve, some of the posts we have both been part of have been very lively. Very BVBL.

    Steve is either not the genius he claims to be, and I then apologize sincerely for picking on the cognitively challenged, or he’s acting as a thug to squelch political debate in the City of Manassas.

    Steve,

    I’m Italian born, I recognize the work of a good, professional Capo, you’re not.

  30. MPResident said on 4 Dec 2011 at 1:52 pm:
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    Mr. Beverage, Mr. Thomas is the one who used the words “HR Policy” not me. Also, I may be wrong I admit, but I believe the law you cite allows for a closed meeting, but does not require it. If I am correct, why is the Council holding closed meetings for the most important position in the City?

    Mr. Thomas, I am a Virginia tax paying citizen. The City of Manassas receives money from the state, therefore, they receive some of my money. In addition, many Manassas officials go on later to higher places in government, therefore, I keep myself abreast on what is going on in the communities around me. So don’t worry what I post and what I comment on..

  31. Doug Brown said on 4 Dec 2011 at 2:16 pm:
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    MPResident,

    You’re always welcomed to post on my blog, unless you’re going to go on & on about KK.
    :-)

  32. My Turn said on 4 Dec 2011 at 3:00 pm:
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    @Doug Brown
    Your credentials will be questioned if you dare take the establishment Republicans in Manassas to task for a legacy which allowed an abortion clinic and multiple pornographic shops to seemingly be fast track permitted, illegals to be the real City occupiers, property taxes to soar, bail outs to old town businesses, and a well-paid, liberal leaning City staff that does little more than community outreach. I began to have hope when Jackson Miller got on the Council and then again when Marc Aveni was elected. Both of those politicians continue to be maligned by the “other” blog and its posters and that was just fine and dandy until your new blog came along and turned the tables, thanks to you for that.

    @Ray Beverage
    My observation is many of the Manassas City Council members are little more than spoiled rich boys (and girls) who are used to getting their way or they have a fit. The exceptions being Steve Randolph, Marc Aveni and maybe John Way. Their public pity parties about how busy they are rings false for this voter. I do not always agree with you but your posts are often thoughtful and well researched.

    @Maureen
    Still looking for acceptance and support from the Manassas Republican Party that has turned its back on you time after time? Sucking up to Mr. Harrover and his best-est minion Mr. Thomas isn’t going to get you anything politically dearie.

  33. Steve Thomas said on 4 Dec 2011 at 3:35 pm:
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    Doug,

    Keep it up. Those personal attacks really bolster your arguments. What were your arguments again? You picked the fight. You issued the insults. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Good luck with your blog.

  34. Steve Thomas said on 4 Dec 2011 at 3:44 pm:
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    PS. Doug, I think I remember you now. If I’ve got the right guy, we manned a polling place together one cycle. Kinda older guy. Told me about another blog you had? If I have mistaken you for someone else, my apologies to that man.

  35. Rich said on 4 Dec 2011 at 8:25 pm:
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    Let’s assume the law permits but doesn’t require open interviews and open consideration of candidates (I don’t know if that’s correct but let’s assume it). I would think that keeping the meetings closed at this point would facilitate a large applicant pool, applicants not wanting their current employers to know they are applying for the city manager position here. It’s a legitimate position to take, that is, to keep it closed. There are points to be made in favor of keeping the meetings open as well, but on balance I prefer a process that favors a large applicant pool. I can understand that others might disagree and so be it.

    Maybe best to pick the truly biggest issues and then fight about them but let us not fight about everything. There will always be something to disagree on, no matter that there is agreement on much. Don’t let those few things drive a wedge through the heart of the Party, unless one really feels that this truly is a make or break issue. I simply don’t.

    On the other hand, maybe this is a fight about the sould of the Party, but its hard to believe that the soul of the Party revolves around whether this meeting is open or not.

  36. MPResident said on 4 Dec 2011 at 8:58 pm:
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    Mr. Brown,

    It is all ready in my favorites! When you say KK I assume you mean KK’s in Old Town. I know I will take some heat from Greg and the rest, but I for one think a free entreprise system will dictate what survives and what doesn’t. If the citizens don’t want it, the owners will end up closing the doors. These ladys did everything according to the law and then forced to defend themselves. I thought it was a shame. I consider myself a Republican because I feel they are the best party to keep me safe and allow for business to operate in a manner freely with the ability to expand. However, when the far right starts interjecting religion into politics it turns me off. This is what happened with KK’s. I am a member of a local church, my wife and I are very active, but I don’t agree with every single aspect of the Church as I don’t agree with every aspect of the Republican party. I love all the blogs and every blog owner should be commended. I will say, if you post on a blog, you should be able to take the heat from the other posters. Short of threats or profanity, I don’t think anyone should be banned from a PUBLIC blog. If a post upsets your children, then use your parental controls.

  37. Maureen said on 4 Dec 2011 at 9:06 pm:
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    My turn,

    I don’t need acceptance from anyone but my friends.

    Because I thank a council member for having a blog or speaking up for Steve Thomas in no way makes a “suck up”.

    I speak my mind, take those to task that need it and say thank you when it is warranted.

    Do you see me at any of the republican committee meetings? I think your comments to me we’re uncalled for and I guess you don’t really know me.

  38. Ray Beverage said on 4 Dec 2011 at 9:44 pm:
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    @MPR….you are correct about the law….the operative word to decide to close it is “may” which the Council did. I am going to presume the Council, after receiving the briefing from the Contractor which I posted the link to, chose the option to close it. Come to think of it, I don’t recall a time the Council did not go to closed session for even routine stuff like appointing someone to a Board/Committee/Commission.

    At least the City Council ran the focus group - when PWC BOCS went through a similar process to select the new CXO, they sought no such input if memory serves me right.

    Can not tell you why the Council went to closed session, but it is their option and they went with it.

    @My Turn….thank you. Might differ with you on who on the Council tosses a fit, but good discussion is always something worth while and glad any of my ramblings are found of interest.

  39. Doug Brown said on 5 Dec 2011 at 12:19 am:
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    @MPResident,

    Yes KK’s, which I believe you and I discussed on this blog several times. At least your cadence and style are very similar to the MPResident with whom I went back and forth with, maybe we should ask Steve Thomas? He remembers everything, that’s what he does.

    @Steve,

    So according to Republican Party guidelines in Manassas personal attacks and insults can be used against rank and file Republicans and common citizens, but are strickly forbotten, as is personal critcism against the higher echelon, such as yourself and the Vice Mayor? To be met with fire and brimstone and Biblical rebuke.

    Or did I miss you taking Andy to task for buttonholing his critics, “buttholes”?

  40. Doug Brown said on 5 Dec 2011 at 12:46 am:
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    p.s.

    Steve you still haven’t quite remembered my face or my name, maybe if you think back to your days before you came out of the anonymous closet.

    Do you remember the threads that pulled you out of that closet? A certain Doug Brown was calling out a certain councilman for posting under a psuedonym, or any local politician for posting anonymously, not only here but I think that is when I started over at Andy’s, it got pretty intense for some, one ‘Rich’ got rather upset with me.

    One Steve Thomas, in a very manly way, stepped up to the soapbox, denounced his anonymous past and promised to anon no more! You remember me, now Steve?

    @Maureen

    I did not engage in character assassination, Steve Thomas took himself out a couple posts before, please re-read his pitiful attempt to smear me into anonymity.

    @Steve

    I think you have a real future in politics I just think you’re in the wrong party.

  41. Steve Thomas said on 5 Dec 2011 at 8:53 am:
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    Sorry Doug. You give yourself way too much credit, if you think you had anything to do with my swearing off anonymous posting. Had nothing to do with you. Folks that matter to me, know why I did it. I guess I don’t have to smear you into anonymity. To me, you might as well be anonymous. You say we’ve interacted on numerous occasions. You claim we’ve even spoken face to face. Still can’t place you. Oh well. Be a good man and rectify that at your earliest convenience. Be sure to walk up and shake my hand, and look me in the eye, as you have stated you’ve done on so many occasions. Be sure to state your name clearly. If you know me, you know I’m a bit hard of hearing. Artillery will do that to you.

    Now I might be a small fish, in a small pond. I may be arrogant and prideful (I prefer confident, but hey, you are entitled to our opinion). You may think I am a “wannabe”. Fine too. But as far as I am concerned, you are a “neverwas”, and hey, it’s just my opinion. Shouldn’t matter to you. You certainly don’t matter much to me. You picked the fight. By your own admission, you’ve harbored some kind of resentment for me for a long time. Obviously, I matter to you. I don’t mind. Really. Like we used to say in the Corps: Mind over matter. I don’t mind, ’cause you don’t matter.

    I’ve said it before. Good luck with your blog. Hope it serves as an outlet for the anger and frustration, you obviously have. I do think your tagline of “Open and Civil Discourse for Manassas” might need a bit of tweaking. I mean, you’ve been everything except civil with me. Guess you’ll be more civil in your house. Your house. Your rules.

  42. Steve Thomas said on 5 Dec 2011 at 11:11 am:
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    @ My Turn,

    As Maureen said, we’ve known eachother for years. We agree on much, but not on everything. On those issues upon which we agree, we’ve worked together. Whether it was campaigning for Jackson Miller, or working to get the Rule of Law resolution passed, we were both out there working to further the conservative agenda. Greg was there too, along with many other folks. Engaged folks. Folks who aren’t content to just comment on blogs. There are other issues upon which we disagree. The thing is, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Furthermore, she always signs her name to her posts…

  43. Steve Thomas said on 5 Dec 2011 at 12:50 pm:
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    “Mr. Thomas, I am a Virginia tax paying citizen. The City of Manassas receives money from the state, therefore, they receive some of my money.”

    MPResident,

    That seems a bit thin to me. By that rationale, you should be taking an interest in the hiring of employees in every municipality across the state. Sorry if my use of the term “HR Policy” was too vague. Probably more proper to say “personnel hiring policy which conforms to privacy laws, to be used at Council discretion”. “HR Policy” just seemed a bit more ubiquitous, and might be better understood by those not in the public sector. But it would seem that “brevity leads to clarity” doesn’t apply in this case. Then again, I’m not a public-sector worker, and outside of my military career, have never worked in the public sector. I work in the private sector, so I tend to speak in those more familiar terms.

    As Councilman Harrover and Ray Beverage pointed out above, the council’s decision to conduct the interviews and hiring discussions in a closed, offsite meeting are well within the law, and existing policy. This might seem a bit odd to the layman, and you did cite the process used by another locality to bolster your argument. Councilman Harrover did respond, and since he’s part of the process, and more in-tune with the “actuals” of the law, and how the City conducts personnel matters. I guess it would only be clear to someone who actually works for the City, or has in the past.

    I am glad you conisder yourself a Republican. I too consider myself a Republican, and I would imagine for many of the same reasons. Understand that we differ on the whole issue of KK’s. That’s OK too. Whether it’s a free market issue, free expression issue, or a zoning and permiting issue, I think it’s pretty much settled now, and all sides had their bite at the apple. In its deliberations, the City Council was very open. Listened to input from folks from Manassas Park and Greater Manassas PWC. KK’s is still operating, when last I checked, and Manassas City has a zoning ordinance that governs how adult-oriented busi

    What I find odd, is the fact that Manassas Park has a bit of a reputation for doing lot’s of closed-door stuff. It’s been well documented here. I suppose, since they receive state money, and I am a state taxpayer, I should watch the machinations of MP’s city government a bit closer, especially considering the dire financial straights MP is in. Then there’s the zoning issues there. Lot’s and lot’s of zoning issues. Very challenging. We’ve had our share here in Manassas, wouldn’t you say?

  44. Doug Brown said on 5 Dec 2011 at 1:11 pm:
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    @Steve,

    I didn’t harbor resentment to you, I just didn’t find anything you had to say that interesting, because I knew and understood the role you were playing as a Party official, and it’s rather straightforward and frankly mundane. I don’t hold that against you, I hold it against you when you turn into Party attack dog which you have been on this thread.

    Steve I remember your post and I remember you adding a caveat about having your reasons, but you posted in the context of a debate I had initiated in which I had made an issue of local politicians posting anonymously or using pseudonyms due to ethical and legal reasons. If ethics and legal liability had nothing do with your decision, then I guess I owe you another apology.

    But Steve you’re the one that claimed the great memory, as you attacked my name, literally, and accused me of being one of those cowardly anonymous poster types. Surely, you can understand my annoyance at a local political operative, who has exchanged comments with Doug Brown, taking me to task for something I as a citizen had spoken out against?

    I know we are just the little people Steve in the grand political theater of Manassas in which you move. Why should you remember Doug Brown? Great memory being what you do, notwithstanding. I, a pitiful never was poster, and other common citizen posters are undoubtedly truly hurt that we are thought of as so lowly as to never have been by such a highly placed man; alas, at least the Vice-Mayor of Manassas, acknowledges our existence, the “buttholes” of Manassas.

  45. JOE said on 5 Dec 2011 at 1:29 pm:
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    Oh Jeez!!!!! Can you all grow up?

    Steve & Tom going back and forth, My Turn demeaning others, etc. It just seems so childish.

  46. Steve Thomas said on 5 Dec 2011 at 2:18 pm:
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    Doug,

    Let’s slow down here a bit. Much can be misinterpreted in the written word. I went back and looked at a few blog posts at other sites, where you mentioned we had exchanged comments. Only having a subject, and not a specific blog site, or even a timeframe, kinda challenging. I found one thread, relating to KK’s where you and I both posted, but the comments didn’t seem directed at each other. I did say I had no reason to believe that “Doug Brown” isn’t your real name, other than it didn’t ring any bells. You have to admit, “Doug Brown” is kind’of inocuous, as much as “Steve Thomas” is, as far as names go. Google either yours or mine, you’ll come back with a gazillion hits. Not knocking your name. It just doesn’t stand out. Nor does mine. I remember folks for a lot of reasons. They’ve volunteered in the campaigns I’ve worked. Have been or are members of the MGOP. Active in the various issues, KK’s, Immigration, Right to Keep and Bear Arms. I’ve debated them at length, or we are on opposite sides of an issue, like immigration. They are key members of the Democrat party. They write a column in the paper, or regular letters to the editor. I meet lot’s of folks on election day and at conventions and such. Probably the worst time to make that casual introduction, as there’s lot’s going on.

    “I’m the guy who shook your hand, looked you in the eye, greeted you politely and usually walked away or spoke with someone else. You remember me now?”.

    Doug, I took this to be a snarky remark. This describes about half the population of Manassas who turn out for our convention. Most guys are polite, look you in the eye, and then go off and speak with someone else. If it wasn’t intended as such, my mistake. I do know who you are now, although I honestly can’t put a face to the name.

  47. Doug Brown said on 5 Dec 2011 at 3:20 pm:
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    Steve,

    Fair enough on that, but for you to comment on my civic involvement because you choose to take a high profile role and I choose another path, was that wise?

    @Joe,

    Steve started it! …just kiddin

  48. Steve Thomas said on 5 Dec 2011 at 4:58 pm:
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    Doug,

    In re-reading what I wrote, in that if your previous engagement has been limited to blog posts, it was as a possible explanation as to why I might not know you. Really. You’d be amazed at the folks I meet, face to face, and act like we are old friends. I ask, “have we met before?” and they say, “yes, on such and such blog. I’m [insert screen name]. Ah. Well that explains it. You see, they know who they are exchanging comments with, but forget they are anonymous.

    Now, it’s my turn: That bit about turning people off, who might otherwise agree with you, just because you rub them the wrong way. You know my politics. Do you think I would be more inclined to agree, disagree, or be neutral? Granted, I am but one opinion amongst many here and there, do you think it wise to immediately assume I was challenging you? Not once did you ask, “What’s your opinion of the current City Manager, and how much influence or control do you think a City Manager should have?”

    Also, while I am flattered, do you think it wise to make this person a subject of a top-line post on your blog? I never claimed to be a “Capo”. I’m a Boston Mick. Long memories, we Boston Micks have….just kidding.

  49. Doug Brown said on 5 Dec 2011 at 6:06 pm:
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    Steve,

    I’ve never posted anonymously and no, I have not limited my civic involvement to posting on blogs, I simply lend a hand or a presence when I can. I too have been in positions where you meet so many people in the course of your days there is no way to remember all the names or faces, but Steve you’re the one that made your memory and my anonymity an issue.

    Steve, I honestly didn’t care if you remember me or not, just don’t use it against me that you don’t remember, that struck me as a little bizarre.

    As for your marquee heading, I guess I will have to take that down. There’s no way a Buffalo Mick is going to let a Boston Mick keep top billing on his blog, even in a comedy role. :-)

  50. MPResident said on 5 Dec 2011 at 8:51 pm:
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    Mr. Thomas, it seems you have taken a keen interest in me. I will say it again, I keep up on all local politics. Does that scare you Mr. Thomas? I never said anything negative to you or about you. But you made it clear I should keep myself in Manassas Park. Quite frankly I would love for you to get involved in MP politics. But if you think I am just going to quiet down because you are on my ass then you have another thing coming.

  51. potmeetkettle said on 5 Dec 2011 at 8:56 pm:
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    Am I the only one that finds it a wee bit amusing that one of the original posters of anonymous hit pieces is on a high horse all of a sudden?

  52. JOE said on 6 Dec 2011 at 8:15 am:
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    People do change.

  53. Steve Thomas said on 6 Dec 2011 at 9:16 am:
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    Post anonymously. Post in the clear. Makes no matter to me. You are correct. I have done my share of anonymous bomb throwing. I won’t do it anymore. Not a high horse at all. Thing is, if I am flinging mud at you, you know who did it. If I am standing in the supermarket checkout line and I get punched in the nose for something I wrote, then I had it coming. At least they had someone to hit.

  54. Steve Thomas said on 6 Dec 2011 at 9:42 am:
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    MPResident,

    Thanks for the invitation to jump into MP politics. I don’t get involved in MP politics, or County issues for that matter, unless they will have a direct impact on the City. County or Manassas Park property tax rates are an example of something that doesn’t impact me. Whether or not the County or Manassas Park participates in the 287G program does. How Manassas Park goes about selecting their City employees doesn’t impact me. Who they elect to their City Council or appoint to their schoolboard doesn’t impact me The fiscal health of Manassas Park does not impact me. I see this a business for Manassas Park residents to hash out. Courtesy, really. Isn’t that what conservatism is all about? We elect our representatives, who work with the representatives you elect, on issues common to both.

    I didn’t much care for the folks who drove from as far away as New Jersey to give Manassas City Council a ration about the “Definition of Family Ordinance”. It was a local zoning issue. Should be decided by our elected City government, with input from Manassas Citizens. I didn’t much care for two ladies from Centreville deciding to open a shop that sells x-rated videos in the heart of Old Town, and I cared even less for all the folks who flocked in from outside the City to try to tell us what kind of businesses we should allow in the city, and where we could locate them. Again, this was a local zoning issue. Should be decided by our local elected officials, with input from Manassas citizens. See where I am going with this?

    Now I’ve taken an interest in you, because you’ve taken such a keen interest in Manassas (City of) internal business. If you are just an interested observer, with no hidden agenda, fine. This still is, for the time-being, a free country. But you reacted so strongly to my use of the general term “HR Policy”, even though it was not directed at you, and really was informational in its intent. You engaged me, remember? Your reaction doesn’t scare me in the least. It intrigued me. You wouldn’t happen to have a hidden agenda, would you? Some axe to grind with the City? Some connection or interest that goes beyond your purported “I am a Virginia Taxpayer…” claim?

  55. MPResident said on 6 Dec 2011 at 2:05 pm:
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    Mr. Thomas, you seem so upset with me and I am not sure why. But for the third time, I make it a point to keep up on ALL the local politics because it does affect me. Especially since Manassas has had its share of local polititions go on to a state leadership. In addition, I have family that lives in the City of Manassas. Nothing more, nothing less. Calm down man! Take a chill pill and enjoy life. By the way, I welcome everyone who gets involved in the crooked $h!t that goes on in the Park. The more eyes there are the less thay can get away with. One reason I love this site.

  56. MPResident said on 6 Dec 2011 at 2:08 pm:
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    By the way Mr. Thomas, I can assure you there is no way in the world that you know more than me when it comes to the ill conceived, poorly planned family definition. One day I will say Hi and introduce myself but I know for a fact you do not know more than me on this issue. And I do not have anything against the City, in fact, I have a fond place in my heart for it.

  57. Steve Thomas said on 6 Dec 2011 at 6:58 pm:
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    MPResident,

    I am absolutely, 100% positive that you know more than I do about the definition of family ordinance…no question. On this point, you can claim absolute victory. And just so you know there aren’t any hard feelings, let’s share a beer or something. I’ll even do the purchasing of said beverage. I’m sure we’d agree on more than we disagree on.

  58. MPResident said on 6 Dec 2011 at 9:02 pm:
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    Mr. Thomas, you are probably right.

  59. Steve Thomas said on 6 Dec 2011 at 9:51 pm:
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    MPResident,

    While we may still disagree on some things, at the very least we’ve reached a certain level of understanding. It’s a start. And while I appreciate your addressing me as “Mr. Thomas”, please call me Steve. Just let me know when you’ll let me buy you the beer, or whatever your beverage of choice is. Like I said, no hard feelings.

  60. Doug Brown said on 6 Dec 2011 at 11:52 pm:
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    MPResident,

    Well, well aren’t we the lucky one! Rubbing elbows with the big boys in MGOP and getting free drinks no less. I can understand why Steve left me out of the party, he knows a Buffalo mick will drink a Boston mick under the table everytime, but what about the other thirsty Manassas posters who contributed to this thread?

    Steve,
    I struck a grand compromise on my blog we share equal top billing now. What the heck the Bruins,Pats,and Sox are bums but the Celtics can’t be beat.

    Hope you stop by and share some thoughts on my next piece: “Playing the Devil’s Advocate in Defense of Dr. Pope.”

  61. MPResident said on 7 Dec 2011 at 7:02 am:
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    I try to be accommodating to everyone. I do enjoy healthy debate though. Mr. Thomas and mr. Brown, greg has my permission to give both of you my email address.

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