Here we go again: An­other high-level county of­fi­cial abruptly re­signs

David Dameron was in the newly cre­ated post un­der four months

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By John Mc­caslin Patty hardee and Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

Less than four months after he was hired to be­come Rap­pa­han­nock County’s first-ever Zon­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor/Deputy County Ad­min­is­tra­tor, David Dameron has abruptly sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion.

“He hasn’t even found a place to live yet,” an ob­vi­ously as­ton­ished Rap­pa­han­nock County Su­per­vi­sor Mike Biniek told the Rap­pa­han­nock News.

Rap­pa­han­nock County In­terim Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brenda Gar­ton con­firmed that Dameron turned in a let­ter of res­ig­na­tion on Fri­day, Oct. 6, in­form­ing the county gov­ern­ment that his last day in his post would be Fri­day, Oct. 20.

“I did re­sign to take an­other job,” Dam-

eron said Wednesday morn­ing from his Gay Street of­fice, de­clin­ing to pro­vide any de­tails un­til he re­ceived a go-ahead from the county where he will be work­ing. “I will say that I en­joyed meet­ing ev­ery­body here [in Rap­pa­han­nock County] and I wish ev­ery­body the best.”

He did not pro­vide this news­pa­per with his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, and Gar­ton said she could not dis­close its con­tents: “We would con­sider the res­ig­na­tion let­ter a part of his per­son­nel file and ex­empt from dis­clo­sure.”

Biniek would only say that Dameron re­marked in the let­ter that he ap­pre­ci­ated the time he spent in Rap­pa­han­nock, brief though it was.

Dameron was cho­sen from a pool of three fi­nal­ists for the newly cre­ated po­si­tion. Biniek con­firmed that the can­di­date who fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Dameron has since taken a job in Shenan­doah County.

For nine years be­fore ar­riv­ing in Rap­pa­han­nock Dameron was the zon­ing ad­min­is­tra­tor for Powhatan County. For six years prior to that he was zon­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cer for Hen­rico County. Both coun­ties sur­round Rich­mond.

“It’s very beau­ti­ful here,” a smil­ing Dameron com­mented be­fore any­thing else when sit­ting down with the Rap­pa­han­nock News on June 11, his first of­fi­cial day in of­fice. A father of three, he was pleased to point out that his youngest son would soon be­gin his fresh­man year at VMI.

He then launched into the chal­lenges that zon­ing of­fi­cials face dur­ing a time of pop­u­la­tion growth and build­ing ex­pan­sion, which Dameron said re­quired a great deal of jug­gling, and he ex­pected that to be no dif­fer­ent in Rap­pa­han­nock, par­tic­u­larly given the small size of the county work­force.

The five-mem­ber board of su­per­vi­sors had looked for­ward to the role that Dameron would play in the county, par­tic­u­larly when it came to han­dling the in­creased work­load in the ad­min­is­tra­tor’s of­fice.

Said Rap­pa­han­nock Su­per­vi­sor John Lesin­ski: “We are so very pleased to welcome Dave Dameron to Rap­pa­han­nock and look for­ward to uti­liz­ing his ex­per­tise, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas of plan­ning, zon­ing and en­force­ment, where he was on the front line in Powhatan County. With Dave on board we can hope­fully over­come some of the acute staff short­age chal­lenges we've faced and proac­tively tackle the land use is­sues be­fore us on both the board of su­per­vi­sors and the plan­ning com­mis­sion.”

Su­per­vi­sor Ron Fra­zier, speak­ing for the en­tire board, wished Dameron “all the best as he steps into this po­si­tion.”

This week, Fra­zier had lit­tle to say about Dameron’s quick exit: “I don’t think I can talk about that,” he told the News.

The five-mem­ber board made it clear when bud­get­ing to cre­ate Dameron’s post that the ul­ti­mate hire would go a long way in re­liev­ing some of the pres­sure faced by then-Rap­pa­han­nock County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Deb­bie Keyser, who it turned out would abruptly an­nounce her own res­ig­na­tion on June 23 after only one year as the county’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

While no of­fi­cial rea­son was pro­vided by Keyser for her de­par­ture, her short ten­ure in the county’s top paid post was rocky. Her job per­for­mance fell un­der re­peated crit­i­cism by one mem­ber of the board in par­tic­u­lar, Fra­zier, who is the long­est-serv­ing su­per­vi­sor.

Keyser had re­placed John McCarthy as ad­min­is­tra­tor. He re­tired after nearly three decades in the post, and Keyser had worked un­der him for one year as deputy county ad­min­is­tra­tor. Keyser has since taken a sim­i­lar po­si­tion in Fauquier County.

Un­til Dameron be­gan his du­ties, the ad­min­is­tra­tor’s of­fice con­sisted of only the ad­min­is­tra­tor and a sec­re­tary. Two of the lat­ter have also quit this year.

“We set [Deb­bie] up to fail dur­ing the bud­get sea­son last year,” Lesin­ski ac­knowl­edged dur­ing a town hall meet­ing ear­lier this year.. “And what we found out is that de­spite the fact that she’s work­ing meet­ings in the evenings, and work­ing on week­ends, work­ing on hol­i­days, there’s just not enough time in the day for one in­di­vid­ual.”

Given that tremen­dous work­load, the county su­per­vi­sors only re­cently ad­justed Gar­ton’s hours as in­terim ad­min­is­tra­tor, which orig­i­nally called for her to spend only 31 hours on the job each week.

Gar­ton com­mented to this news­pa­per this week that it was im­pos­si­ble for one per­son to han­dle all that is re­quired of the ad­min­is­tra­tor’s post, es­pe­cially in the space of 31 hours.

Lesin­ski this week said it’s too early to know when the su­per­vi­sors will meet to dis­cuss re­plac­ing Dameron, al­though a pre­vi­ously sched­uled spe­cial meet­ing of the board will con­vene to­day [Thursday] on other mat­ters, in­clud­ing the search for a full-time ad­min­is­tra­tor to re­place Gar­ton.

Dameron’s “not on the agenda and, there­fore, can­not be dis­cussed,” Lesin­ski said of to­day’s meet­ing.

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