suspension of a constitutional officer

Brent Finnegan -- April 24th, 2008

The petition to remove Treasurer Becky Neal from office has been filed, and is currently being verified by the city voter registrar. But I’m trying to figure out if members of General Assembly tried to get involved in the process yesterday, by way of an amended bill.

This morning I saw an interesting piece in the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star:

An amended bill that would have allowed judges to temporarily suspend a constitutional officer from his or her elected office if that officer is indicted for a crime generated a lot of discussion in the Senate, and was ultimately rejected.

One senator said it would protect citizens from an indicted official who might return to their office to destroy evidence. But other senators said allowing judges to remove an elected official from office before they’ve been convicted of a crime raised serious constitutional questions.

The story doesn’t name any bill sponsors. Does anyone know what bill that was, or if it had anything to do with the Neal indictment?

52 Responses to “suspension of a constitutional officer”

  1. Dave Briggman says:

    What’s so interesting? Jeff Mellott reporting something different than what he was told?

    Nothing new there. I often wonder if Jeff and I were attending the same meeting when I read his story in the paper. As recently as last week on TV-3, I heard Bob Corso improperly characterize the petition.

  2. Gxeremio says:

    You’re right Dave. During the petition drive, both DNR and WHSV made it seem as though the petition was for suspension until the trial, not permanent removal from office before the trial. I wonder how many people who signed it realized what they were actually calling for.

    Here are some comments from local residents (signers?) who clearly misunderstood the purpose of the petition:

    “She shouldn’t be in office and still getting a salary until she’s either proven innocent or guilty, but I think she needs not to be there right now,” says Bonnie Hinkle, who also signed the petition.”

    “Suspension until this is decided is the only way to be fair, it makes sense. I would think it would be miserable to work in that office along side her under these circumstances, other employees should not have to deal with that. ” – fos46

    “this petition is a legal option put in place for situations like this. lets assume mrs. neal is innocent, she will temporaraly be suspended from working and her salary withheld, however once she is determined to be innocent she will receive her back salary. now let’s assume she is guilty, she will be continuing to work and receive a very nice, taxpayer paid salary until the courts find her guilty-not exactly how i want my money spent. ” – mhburg

    “To all those commentors, that support Neal, to continue with her present job duties. Think….she has a lot less to loose now, than before she was indicted, by the Grand Jury….her REPUTATION. The taxpayers of Harrisonburg, deserve peace of mind. I don’t think they have that, with Neal continuing to control the Treasures Office. If she is innocent, she will be vendicated and paid. Sign the petition.” – coolbeanz

    “Too many questions still unanswered that yes she should be suspended with her pay on hold and if indeed she is found not guilty it is hers, until then we don’t need to continue paying her. ” – citizent

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