Supervisors' Marathon Meeting Focuses on Dumler

Posted: Updated:

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors held a marathon meeting Wednesday that ran from the morning into the evening. At the top of the agenda were the issues involving the growing controversy surrounding Chris Dumler.

In January, Dumler pleaded guilty to sexual battery. He was facing a felony forcible sodomy charge but instead pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge as part of a plea agreement. Several agencies have publicly urged him to step down from the board, but he refused.

During the afternoon portion of Wednesday's meeting, Dumler was removed from all appointed boards and committees, meaning all other supervisors will take over his assignments. Dumler has now been stripped of just about all of his duties on the board - but still refuses to step down.

Dumler says he was told to step down from five county committees he was on or the board would vote on it behind closed doors. Dumler says the move won't diminish his role in county business because all issues come to the full Board of Supervisors for a final vote and he still has full voting powers.

Supervisors took up the issue during the closed meeting. "I think it was made fairly clear in close session, you know, not doing a head count or anything, but I think the general vibe in the room, it was very clear that if I did not choose to do it voluntarily there would be a vote to remove me," said Dumler.

Even with the strife involving Dumler, it was a hard decision for some supervisors.  "It was a difficult discussion, I'll just say that. I don't think I want to say much more about it than that," said supervisor Ken Boyd.

While Dumler remained a topic of conversation during the afternoon portion of the meeting, which was rescheduled due to last week's snow storm, supervisors also discussed what to do should a board member suddenly resign.

The vote was unanimous to make sure supervisors have a public process for such a situation, but Dumler was not named during the discussion. Ann Mallek noted she could be hit by a bus at any time and Dennis Rooker reminded all supervisors of their mortality. Dumler nodded during the conversation but did not speak except for a ‘yay' vote at the end.

A handful of Dumler protesters were present at the morning portion of the meeting. They remained silent.  Two police officers were also present at the meeting and monitoring the protestors.

During the evening session protesters were present and ready to give Dumler an earful.  About 20 people openly asked Dumler to step down, while others in the audience sat silently waving signs asking the supervisor-turned-convict to resign. 

Many who spoke Wednesday night say it's not appropriate for someone convicted of such a crime to stay in a leadership position. They say their trust in him is gone and do not want him representing them.

"Having someone who commits violence on a governing board is completely inappropriate because that person will not listen to his constituency. He doesn't listen to his date in a sexual situation, he's not going to listen to his constituency," said Clara Bellewheeler.

"Is it really the will of the people and is it really just that the people mopping the floors outside Lane Auditorium are held to higher standards of conduct and more severe punishments than those inside Lane Auditorium?" said Charles Winkler.

A petition asking for Dumler's resignation will soon be in the hands of an Albemarle County judge who will decide whether Dumler is unable to do his job.

  • Supervisors' Marathon Meeting Focuses on DumlerMore>>