By Susan Pietras-Smith
The new Colonial Beach mayor, Mike Ham, and new Town Council had an exciting start to the year as Chief of Police, Kenneth Blevins, SR resigned his position, effective immediately, at the first council meeting of the year.
As council went into closed session following the regular meeting, Town Manager Val Foulds and Chief Blevins were called to follow the council members. Approximately 25 minutes later Chief Blevins exited the closed session, picked up his belongings and left the building without speaking. A few minutes later the council reopened the meeting, announced Blevins’ resignation and read a prepared statement from Ham.
The statement announced that council had accepted Blevins resignation and thanked him for his years of service to the Town. Blevins had been appointed Chief of Police in January of 2011. He came to work for Colonial Beach Police Department (CBPD) in 2002.
When a vote was called to approve the separation agreement between the town and Blevins, all council members voted to accept it except Tommy Edwards, who abstained with no explanation. According to town bylaws, which were voted into acceptance at the start of January’s meeting, members abstaining are required to state their reasons for doing so. Section 1-4, A states “If a member chooses to abstain, the member shall state the reason for abstaining for the record.”
Edwards had not returned an email on this matter prior to press time.
Captain William Seay was appointed interim chief of police. Council stated that Seay has all the powers that are accorded to any chief of police in Colonial Beach.
Mayor Ham announced a new system for the Vice Mayor seat in which the person with the highest vote for Vice Mayor in a regular election would hold the office for one year. At the start of the second year, the person with the second highest vote count becomes Vice Mayor. This system gives each Vice Mayor a one year term. After a unanimous vote, Tommy Edwards became Vice Mayor until December 31, 2013.
In other council news, meetings for the year were set. All regular Council meetings will continue on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Town Center. What was formerly referred to as Committee meetings are now being called work sessions and they will be held on fourth Thursdays at the new time of 4:30 p.m.
Along with renaming the meetings, there is a new format in use. Each major area of need will have a point of contact within the council. On an as-needed basis they will form into committees with one or two council members and town citizens who volunteer for them. The five areas, and their contacts are: Public Safety, Tommy Edwards; Economic Development, Tim Curtin; Finance, Wanda Goforth; Public Works, Gary Seeber; and Administration, Jim Chiarello.
Resolution 05-13 was passed allowing Town Manager Foulds to negotiate a contract with G. L. Howard, who won the contract for the Sanitary Sewer Improvements project, to rent part of 700 Colonial Ave. for 750 per month for the duration of their work in town repairing sewer and water lines in the Classic Shore area, also known as the numbered streets.
A special meeting of council has been set for January 30 at 4:30 p.m. This meeting is for nonprofit organizations to have a say in the upcoming water and sewer billing. Colonial Beach has not been charging nonprofits for their water and sewer connections. All other localities in the state charge their nonprofit organizations for water and sewer according to council member Gary Seeber.
Council also voted to accept the contract for the 2013 and 2014 Jet Ski Events. This year’s event is to be held July 19-21.