Eye on the pot calling the kettle black

By Susan Gibbs

Supervisor Eddie Deane has been making a lot of noise lately about what a failure he’s been in his official capacity and promising to make up for that failure for the rest of his four year term—which ends about three and a half months from now.

He’s right about failing those who have supported him, at least for the most part.

Eddie Deane

Eddie Deane

I was between jobs and looking for something to do back in the summer of 2011 when Deane was tapped by Ken Lawson of Fried Companies Inc. (FCI) to run for the position he now occupies with an eye toward approval of the rezoning that would enable the Creekside housing community on US 29 North.

Just two months after taking his At Large seat on the Greene County Board of Supervisors, he came through for the developer by making the motion that the request for rezone be approved, and then cast the deciding vote.

The request was to rezone 400 acres between US 29N and Preddy Creek Road from R-1 Residential, which calls for single-family homes only, to a Planned Unit Development, or PUD. In making the request the developer took the property from an 800 single-family home By Right project with no proffers to a project consisting of 600 single-family homes and 580 townhomes that carries proffers that include $570,000 cash and a $1.6 million four-lane connector road, with turn lanes, between Preddy Creek Road and US 29N.

“If we don’t approve this tonight … there will be no extra road, there will be no proffers, there will be a $7 million loss in tap fee potential, and a $1 million loss in revenue projection,” Deane said on February 28, 2012.

But what might have been considered politics as usual became what could be considered conflict of interest when Deane, as owner of Deane’s Carpet Installation, started laying carpet in FCI’s Terrace Greene apartments.

So he didn’t fail FCI, but Deane did fail most of his supporters.

Shortly after he took his seat, apparently unable to answer a question regarding Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) activities, and unwilling to call for a report from either Greene County Zoning Administrator Bart Svoboda, who was part of TJPDC’s Rural Transportation Committee, or Andrea Wilkinson, the county’s citizen liaison, he handed TJPDC documents over to Eva Young, prior to her appointment to the Greene County Planning Commission, to turn over to her husband Bob—who Deane has “named” as his replacement—for interpretation.

The questions were never answered.

And then, after running on a platform espousing property rights, in January 2013 Deane cast the deciding vote in favor of a rezoning from residential to business of a building smack dab in the middle of a 17-acre family plot just outside the Town of Stanardsville. This, even though a bit of neighboring land might have had to be seized to bring the building to conformity, the building is accessed by a private road that would require the establishment of a private-public partnership that all adjoining properties opposed.

(See http://eyeongreene.com/will-county-land-be-seized-to-accommodate-mental-health-facility/)

A couple of months later, during budget workshops in the spring of 2013, Deane and fellow supervisor David Cox negotiated with Sheriff Steve Smith after Smith told supervisors that without a $15,000 raise as compensation for handling animal control or he would turn that responsibility—which had been handled by the Sheriff’s Office for years–back over to the county.

Smith wanted the money to donate to charity, but listed in the budget as salary for the retirement benefit it would provide. While the outcome of those negotiations is unknown at this writing, it’s probably safe to say that Greene County taxpayers ended up picking up the tab for Smith’s charity.

As his term of service continued Deane frequently missed meetings of organizations to which he was to serve as liaison, and didn’t show for appointments he had made with individuals.

Then came Tuesday, December 17, 2013 when Deane claimed to have been attacked by two men after they allegedly ran him off the road. He said the two men hit him multiple times before he finally got away. As a result, Deane took out a warrant for the pair. One was charged with one count of abduction and another for assault and battery, and the other man was charged with one count of abduction.

Insufficient evidence was found to pursue the matter and the charges against the two Harris men were dismissed.

It is unclear as to when Deane was reborn politically and decided he was going to make amends for all his misbehavior, but what is clear is that he is going about it all wrong—by taking part in an effort to unseat fellow supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) that may very well be failing the taxpayers of the Midway District.

(See http://eyeongreene.com/mystery-group-seeks-to-unseat-frydl/)

While Gail Breeden, who organized the petition, did not name the members of the group backing it, Deane’s name came up frequently during my conversation with her, as did those of Bob and Eva Young.

Breeden et al are making a lot of noise about a near $6,000 interest-free loan made to County Administrator John Barkley so that he could catch up comfortably with his Virginia Retirement System payments. But by filing the petition for Frydl’s recall they are making the taxpayers of the Midway District potentially liable for all court costs and attorney fees in an action that could take months, and include a trial by jury.

According to the Code of Virginia, while nobody who signs the petition or who circulates the petition—in this case Breeden and her group—is liable for any costs, residents of the Midway District can be if the case is dismissed in favor of Frydl.

In addition, this group—whose size we don’t know and whose members have not been identified—has taken it upon itself to select an appointee, whose identity is also being kept secret.

Thus, they are attempting to deny what is most likely the majority of voters in the Midway District their right to vote for their representative on the county’s board of supervisors.

If Deane really does want to right all his wrongs, he might better just finish out his term quietly, and then retire from politics altogether.

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