Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

This Is What $800 Worth Of PWC Taxpayer Money Looks Like

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but three bricks are apparently worth $800 of Prince William County taxpayers’ money.

There’s a new sheriff in town, well actually a blogger, and he calls himself the Sheriff of Notingham in Prince William County.

The site is only about two weeks old, but it contains several entries already detailing numerous questionable activities and ethical lapses of certain members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors related to their use of office slush funds with the hint that there is more to come and some things may cross over the line from unethical to possibly illegal.

One of the things the Sheriff has written about is the purchase of commemorative bricks at the National Museum of the Marine Corps using county tax dollars.  Rather than having an engraving such as “The Citizens of Prince William County” or “The Residents Of The Dumfries District” (now Potomac District), they instead bear not only the names of the individual supervisors as if these bricks were paid for with their own money, but their spouses as well!

According to the Sheriff, Potomac Dist. Supervisor Maureen Caddigan used $600 from her slush fund to purchase two bricks and Neabsco Dist. Supervisor John Jenkins got a deal and only had to pay $200 for his brick.  On my way home from my daughter’s Girl Scout bridging ceremony at Locust Shade Park today, I decided to stop by the museum and see for myself exactly what that $800 bought in person.  Here is what I found…

That doesn’t exactly look like something paid for by the taxpayers of Prince William County.  It appears as if two Board members personally donated and put their titles on the bricks.  While Jenkins was bold enough to include his wife’s name on the brick, further giving the impression of it being a personal contribution, Caddigan purchased a separate brick for her husband that gives no indication whatsoever as to the source of funding.  Have these people lost touch so much that they don’t see anything wrong with what they are doing?

These are public funds.  They are using it like this money belongs to them personally.  This has to end NOW and a full accounting must be made of such contributions with repayment of funds (plus interest) to the county from the supervisors’ personal or campaign accounts.  We’ve been railing against this practice for over six-months now.  Back then I wrote:

I do have problems with supervisors handing out taxpayer dollars to their favorite charities and groups that in turn builds community goodwill towards them personally that is paid back at election time in the form of votes.

Hold on tight.  If what I am hearing pans out, we’re in for a very bumpy ride ahead.

If you live in PWC, contact your supervisor before the June 5th meeting and tell him or her to shut down the use of district discretionary funds for anything other than purposes “related to a public matter” such as staff salary, rent, postage and the purchase of office supplies.

UPDATE:  The Sheriff has his own set of photos of the bricks up now as well.

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10 Responses to “This Is What $800 Worth Of PWC Taxpayer Money Looks Like”

  1. Ken Reynolds

    OK, if the bricks were paid for with County funds, they should be reversed and paid for by supervisors’ personal funds………..this is obviousl an inappropriate screw-up………jail time?? noooooooooo

  2. Riley

    It isn’t a screw up. And I agree that this probably wouldn’t rise to the level of jail time if there is any criminality involved. But other matters, well, that could be an entirely different ball game.

  3. Kristin Forrester

    This happens all the time, our Supervisors have no respect for the fact that the money is taxpayer money nor do they even realize it. Remember the sign I posted a picture of- the sign from the side of the road on rte 1- “road improvements paid for by the Board of County Supervisors”. I remember thanking them for their generosity, who knew supervisors paid for roads?? They do what they please, spend our money as if it were their own, and even claim it as their own. But, as long as the citizens continue to elect them, I guess only a few of us think it’s a problem. They are held accountable at the polls, so let’s see if our friends and neighbors agree that it’s a problem or if they find this type of behavior acceptable.

  4. Moon-Howler

    It seems rather simple. If discretionary funds are used, then the people of Prince William County have paid for it. The supervisor’s name should not appear.

    On the other hand, if these bricks were paid for out of personal accounts, then we all owe the supervisors an apology. It should be very easy to determine who paid–supervisor or taxpayers.

    It doesn’t matter if it is the Marine Corp, Rainbow Riding, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Library Center or what….the individual’s name should not be there unless the money came out of their pocket. Any of those donations should be stated as “I would like to donate $1000 to x organization on behalf of the taxpayers of Prince William County.” This should be said each and every time during BOCS meetings.

    More importantly, there needs to be a process for grants to organizations. The way we do things is simply unacceptable because there is too much room for the appearance of questionable behavior.

    If the band at School X in Y district needs a grand, there should be a way to apply for said funds. The era of the sugar daddy/mama supervisor should be over.

  5. KFD4EDU

    Moonhowler, Your suggestion for a grant process is an interesting one that could be a strong idea. It would be really nice if the Supervisors would just return the unspent money to the citizens each year, but we know how that would go. “use of lose” funds would be spent like crazy and each supervisor would have stacks of unnecessary materials to avoid returning money. What I don’t agree with is having the money returned to the general fund. How is it better to have the County Execs spending the money without even so much as a mention of it during a board meeting? That’s just shifting the problem from one location to a less noticeable location.
    Seeing as how our taxes went up again, it’s a shame they didn’t all vote to deposit their excess (some have much more money than what they spend- we haven’t talked about actual account balances in awhile) into the upcoming budget to avoid raising taxes. Instead, they’d rather say things like “compared to others we have…” That’s the same lame line the town employees like to shout every time we want to hold them accountable for something. Guess what? Who cares what anyone else is doing? I guess the lesson of “would you jump off the bridge just because everyone else did?” wasn’t given to local government.

  6. Ken Reynolds

    I read the BOCS Agenda fairly carefully each week, and do not recalll an entry for these expenditures. As perhaps most of you know, expenditures such as these are posted one week and acted on the following week. That said, I am surprised that Mike May, Corey, or Candland did not question/object to these like someone did when Covington went off the walll…….something is missing and rather than call for resignations, there is a need for an investigation as to what happened. Of course its wrong if it is true, but everything is correctable. Perhaps we need an ombudsman or ethics offficer to keep an eye on these things………..but it would seem that 8 supervisors could have been regulating themselves.

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