A disagreement between Supervisors Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac) and Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) worked toward a conclusion Tuesday, March 20, after Tulloch requested the board convene an ad hoc ethics committee to review Burton's actions last month. The two supervisors have been at odds since Burton accused Tulloch of involving himself in the actions of the Planning Commission with regards to the Ridgewater Park Comprehensive Plan amendment.
On Feb. 6, during the board's business meeting, Burton asked Tulloch about what he had heard from Planning Commissioner Nancy Doane (Catoctin). Doane had originally requested more time to review the Ridgewater Park amendment, but Robert Klancher (Broad Run), the Planning Commission chair, decided to move forward with the application. At the February meeting, Burton said Doane had told him the decision to move forward had come at the request of the vice chairman.
Tulloch acknowledged he had spoken with Klancher, but only to find out where they were with the application and did not involve himself in the commission's actions. Tulloch demanded and apology from Burton, but so far, Burton has not given an apology that satisfied the vice chairman. He apologized for upsetting Tulloch, but not for questioning the vice chairman's role in the situation.
"I have been patient," Tulloch said March 20. "I have no joy in doing what I am asking to do. If we do not enforce our code of ethics it is not worth the paper it is printed on."
TULLOCH REQUESTED that Supervisors Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run), Chairman Scott K. York (I-At large), and Jim Clem (R-Leesburg) make up the ethics committee, with Clem acting as chair.
"I believe it is time that we stop running this board through an indictment of innuendo," Tulloch said. Tulloch went on to say that Burton had "cast aspersions" at every Republican member of the board.
"Those days have to stop Mr. Burton," Tulloch said. "You can no longer run your shell game like that."
Other supervisors, however, suggested that Tulloch let the situation pass, stating that every member of the board has been the target of personal insults.
"I don't think pursuing this does anything but ratchet up a very contentious board," Supervisor Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin) said. "If I can weather baiting, I am wondering, why don't you?"
SUPERVISOR LORI WATERS (R-Broad Run) made a motion that the supervisors call a truce. She said that all members of the board were "stubborn."
"We've spent a lot of time together and each person up here is very passionate about their positions," she said.
Tulloch, however, said that calling a truce was making light of a situation he believed was very important.
"I will not let this go," he said. "Mr. Burton needs to apologize for what he did that day. On this particular occasion I thought that you were so wrong that I could not let it go."
Clem said it would be difficult for him to make time to be part of the ad hoc committee and suggested that Tulloch let the situation pass so that the board could focus on its work as a group.
"I know Tulloch and I disagree with each other on things," he said. "I understand how Tulloch feels and it is his call on how far he wants to go with this. If you respond you do nothing but fuel the fire."
Following a motion by Clem, the board voted 7-0-1-1 to table Tulloch's motion and allow the vice chairman and Burton to try and work their problems out on their own. Staton was absent for the vote and Burton recused himself because of his involvement with the situation.
Following the meeting, Tulloch said he was pleased by the discussion that was had by the board on the issue.
"I wanted to have a discussion about it and that is exactly what happened," he said.