The latest meeting of the Colonial Beach Town Council had only one item on its agenda, Resolution 33-17, which continues the relationship between the town of Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County by allowing the county’s building official, Paul Brunkow, to continue to act as the town’s official. Colonial Beach’s building inspector, Dexter Monroe, is working under the purview of Brunkow until he finishes his certifications.
Town councilmen Steve Cirbee and Bill Dellar, voted against the resolution with Dallas Leamon, Vice Mayor, absent from the meeting. All other council members voted yes to extend the relationship for six months.
Cirbee, who is also a contractor and owner of Trinity Building Company, LLC, has issues with the extension of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was put in place in 2016. At the meeting, Cirbee questioned town attorney, Andrea Erard, over the legality of having the county cover this issue.
Cirbee began stating, “Being that we’re a town of 3,500 plus people, and we have our own building department, have you confirmed that us having a separate building official is legal in the code of Virginia?” Erard started to answer, “What this resolution will do, Mr. Cirbee, is” before she was interrupted by Cirbee who stated, “That’s not my question. I just asked a simple question, I know what the resolution does it continues what has happened for the last year.”
Last June the town manager, Val Foulds, worked with the county to have Brunkow work as the town’s certified building official as Monroe finishes his certifications. According to Cirbee, Monroe has worked for nine and a half years with only a residential certification.
Monroe has been the part-time building inspector for the town of Colonial Beach for those years. Cirbee has questioned Monroe’s qualifications at council meetings even prior to his November 2016 election to the town council.
Cirbee also asked, “Last year when this was done initially why wasn’t there a vote of council and why is there this year?”
Erard answered that last year she had consulted with Mayor Mike Ham who felt it was an issue that could be handled administratively. According to Erard, they are doing this differently this year due to a different mayor being in office.
At one point, Cirbee began to discuss why former town building officials had left the town, before Town Mayor Eddie Blunt gaveled him down. Personnel issues are typically discussed in closed sessions due to privacy concerns.
“This has been going on for a long time, folks,” Cirbee stated. “This has to come to an end, and it’s got some big ramifications to it. It doesn’t matter who the people are, it’s what our process is, and whether what we are doing is right or wrong and what we’ve done in the past is right or wrong, and how we go forward. Honestly, we have got some major problems here. I don’t know how we can vote on this resolution when y’all don’t have any information on this whatsoever.”
Both Cirbee and Dellar expressed their desire to ask Foulds the important questions and shared their disdane for her absence.
“It is very discouraging and quite frankly counterproductive when we have meeting after meeting and the town manager fails to show up,” Dellar said. “There is something wrong with that.”
According to Foulds, she was unable to attend due to family matters.
Following the meeting, Blunt said that they had to pass this resolution in order to keep the contractors in town working.