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the grinch who stole christmas

December 24th, 2011 · 15 Comments · local government, musings

I’ve had the hardest time this past six weeks trying to write. I guess I’ve been suffering from some kind of intellectual constipation that also includes this nauseous dread of what the coming year is going to be like. Virginia is one of seven battleground states because of our open Senate seat, and we can expect nothing less than a scorched earth campaign from both sides. And while it has been kind of amusing to watch the Republican presidential candidates eat their young, it’s scary as all get out when you consider that one of these bozos has a good chance of becoming president.

The cautious optimism that I felt here on the home front after the November election lasted about two weeks. It took about that long before it became apparent that the BOS Chairman-in-waiting Danny McDaniel and County Administrator- for-Life Papa Doc Dalton are moving to marginalize the new board members. We’ll know in a month or so how that works out. Watch to see to what committees the new supervisors are appointed, and who they in turn appoint to the various advisory commissions.

We don’t have to wait to see what we can expect from the new Commissioner of the Revenue. Faye Barker hasn’t even taken office yet, and she is proving to be what I thought she would be after the first and only time I spoke with her last summer at the Farmers Market: a mean spirited, vindictive woman with low self esteem and a nasty attitude. Though I would have handled things differently, I can understand her reluctance to work with Robert Kegley after the rumor driven negative campaign she ran, but Ms. Barker’s treatment of Donna Leonard is unconscionable. As was reported in the Wednesday print edition of the Wytheville Enterprise (which I have not had an opportunity to read yet) Ms. Leonard is a single mom with an honor roll student at Radford University whose only crime was to support Mr. Kegley. Not only will Donna begin the new year without a job, she will also lose her family’s health insurance. Shame on you Ms. Barker, shame on you. You consider yourself a good christian lady, but actions speak louder than words and you are neither.

Peace on earth, good will to all.

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • bob

    Thank you LOCAL for your wonderful words. And I might add that Faye Barker is a kind, intelligent, sensible, and reasonable human being who will do the job of Commissioner of Revenue well. Wythe County is lucky to have her!

    The only negative statements I have heard have come from the “other” side. Way to go Faye…keep up the integrity!

  • Buford Bailey

    I think you may be wrong on the new elected officials. I spent quite a bit of time with them at the local events before the election. I believe that we have elected some very good candidates, who are very wise to the ways of the world. As for my opponent Joe Hale, having talked to Joe and getting to know him, i really don’t think Mr. Hale is a gentleman who is easily taken advantage of. As i said at the Chamber of Commerce forum, ” our district had the two best candidates to choose from”. I was not chosen, and Joe was. So far, in the stands he has taken i support him. I believe that all of our newly elected officials will do a good job and only have the best interest of the Citizens of the County at heart. And by the way. Keep writing. Even though i diagree with you somtimes i do enjoy reading your blog. it helps to keep my blood pressure up! Buford Bailey

  • Faye Barker

    I don’t know why you write something that is so one sided. I have not heard from Donna or Robert asking if they are going to be kept at the office when I take over. I never said anything negative about either one them or anything about the office they are the ones who made up things and posted them. As far as Donna wanting to bury the hatchet she has not attempted to contact and furthermore she will not even look at me or speak so how do you think I could have her in my office. She made the statement that she would not work for me and that she already had a job.
    As far as the farmers market I am there all the time even before I ran for office. I have been a customer since the market opened several years ago. I don’t know how you can judge me when you don’t know the facts on anything you write about and only listen to one side. The people of Wythe County have spoken and it is time to lay this to rest.

  • Drew


    Reasonable is not the word that comes to mind when Faye pulls a stunt like firing Donna. Donna is a wonderful person both in the office and out of the office and she should not be treated as a political casualty.

    We shouldn’t allow the elected to remove political enemies and install only those who agree with the elected person’s political views. This type of behavior harbors terrible consequences where one perspective is the only one that advances, even if that perspective is wrong-headed. Without some dissent, there is no “check valve” to make sure that we are moving in the right direction.


  • Holly Bricker

    Sir, your hate-filled words, uneducated opinions, and “mean spirit” are once again doing you a discredit in the eyes of our beautiful county and hopefully to those who read your blog. While being supportive of my mother, Faye Barker, during the election I have remained neutral to those who supported Robert or just followed party lines. I reminded myself daily that after this election we would all have to see each other whether it was in the grocery store, in church, or just out in the community. You have never once met my mom, me, or my family but here you are once again disparaging her over decisions that were not easy for her to make. While I can’t speak for her I know that she examined each person in the office and took into account their level of ability, work ethic, customer service skills, and other attributes that she witnessed while working with both Donna and Robert and apparently found them lacking. As I stated before I’m sure she would be happy to speak with you anytime. I find it truly amazing that when you are giving the opportunity to meet someone face-to-face to derive your opinion in person you choose to hide behind your blog and anonymity the internet provides and spew your drivel.

  • Drew


    You take someone who has been working in a position for years, and you fire them a month after a contentious election? And you want us to see that she made her decision on work ethic, customer service skills, level of ability and other attributes? BULLSHIT!

    “Hide behind your blog and anonymity”? Jeezy Pete, Ron has a picture of himself up on this blog, I hardly consider that anonymity!

    Maybe if your mom had taken the same high road that you purportedly do, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion… but she had to get rid of the dissident voices, so that she can stock her office with “Yes Men/Women” who will brown-nose her and tell her that everything is wonderful.


  • Linda Meyer

    How about being OUTRAGED about this issue. Come on gang………Dalton gave himself an extra 2.5%(over & above the 3% we knew about), so that means he’s pocketed almost $6,000 more ……..yes that’s almost 6 Grand!
    I went back in all this years minutes & I found NO mention of any merit raises. In previous budgets there were line items of “bonuses” & “fringe benefits”BUTTTTTTTT….this time they decided to just add it to the salary line, which we thought was only the 3% increase that we knew about. I don’t know who else got merit raises, BUT we’ve been HAD again. When was the last time you got an almost 6grand raise.
    Ok everybody, it’s a NEW year & we need more John Q’s watchin’ & askin’.
    The 1st BOS meeting is the 10th @7PM, how about commin’ . There may be some hypnotizing trying to go on,we need to support out new guys & make sure they don’t come under any spells.

  • Martha

    Mr. Dalton did not give himself a merit raise…the BOS gave it to him, which he deserves. He works very hard promoting Wythe County, which everyone needs to do and that includes you.

  • Drew


    The only thing that I have seen Cellel Dalton attempt to promote is Cellel Dalton. Maybe if the BOS was independent, and didn’t look to Cellel for every answer, they would see that Wythe County will still be nearly the same without him, of course we would be without Cellel’s ego, which would be a relief!


  • Martha


    I assume you have spent sometime discussing issues with Mr. Dalton and have come to your conclusions. Right?

  • Louise Bennett

    time to weigh in on animal control. We need your voice to help us with this situation. Another example of County mismangement.

  • Drew

    No, I have not spoken to him. But his actions have shown the way he really is. And the terrible Wythe County BOS — Martha Umberger, Bucky Sharitz, Danny McDaniel and the rest of the gang is to blame for making this monster.

    All you need to do is look back to how Cellel has handled the Dept. of Social Services building remodel project. Subjecting the employees and clients of DSS to bone-chilling temperatures during the winter, and putting up with the sounds, offensive odors and distraction of ongoing construction.

    I’ll give you one guess to what would have happened if they would have completely renovated the building that Cellel’s office is in… do you think poor ole’ Cellel and his staff would have put up with the same conditions?


  • Martha


    Yes, they would and yes they did. When they built the new County Administration Building nobody moved. They experienced some of the same conditions. I am sorry for Social Services, but hopefully it will be built soon and they will be in the new building.

  • Drew

    So, let me get this straight. Cellel and the staff of the Wythe County Administration building put up with 2 winters with no central heat, with paint and adhesive fumes and other distractions? Really? If so, then I will retract my earlier statement, but I do doubt that the staff of the Administration building would have put up with the same conditions that DSS has been forced to comply.


  • Martha

    No I did not say that they put up with distractions for two winters. I don’t know how long they put up with the construction of the new building.
    If I had to wager a guess it would be that SS will have to endure a longer period of time due to the size of the building.

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