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Committee Makes Aide Policy Recommendations

As a special prosecutor undertakes the investigation of one supervisor, the board considers changes.

Changes have been proposed to tighten restrictions for Loudoun County supervisors’ aides as a criminal investigation continues into work Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) asked his aide to perform.

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors Finance/Government Service & Operations Committee voted unanimously to send a new policy for aides to the full board for a vote. The changes ban aides from working for their supervisor’s private business or organization or campaign. The restrictions do not restrict aides from volunteering for campaigns.

“We’ve drawn clear lines of separation between county business, private business and personal business,” said finance committee Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn). “We’re making what were blurred lines in the board policy very distinct and clear lines. Under no circumstances can an aide do any personal activity for a board member.”

Delgaudio participated in the discussion and voted against the provision that bans working for a supervisors’ private business or campaign. The investigation of Delgaudio involves claims by Donna Marteer that she was asked to perform campaign and private work for the supervisor.

“Generally speaking, I personally think it’s unconstitutional to restrict anybody’s paid services outside my office,” Delgaudio said. “How is it they can go to work for another candidate, but they can’t go work for me?”

Delgaudio said work for a supervisors’ private business should not be restricted either. Instead, he asked why the board does not adopt a grievance policy for aides who feel they’re asked to cross the line. Currently, aides do not have a grievance policy such as the one that covers county employees because they are at-will employees.

“These positions are positions that can be terminated at any time,” County Attorney John Roberts explained, adding that otherwise it would be difficult for incoming supervisors to hire new aides following elections. “The very nature of the position, I don’t think, is compatible with having some sort of grievance procedure.”

Delgaudio then wondered how aides could be considered apolitical and a political appointment at the same time.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York said, “The public has to have a clear perception of when the aides are working for us and when they are not.”

Under the proposed changes, aides must also request permission to work another job so that it may be reviewed for a conflict. In addition, aides would not be permitted to do personal tasks for a supervisor, such as picking up dry cleaning or feeding a cat.

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