Censured: Former, current supes call for Dumler to resign
Christopher Dumler may have thought the worst was behind him when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery January 31 so he could avoid a felony conviction and remain on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. However, it was clear February 6 the issue hadn't died when his fellow supervisors censured the Scottsville representative and two former supes called for his resignation.
Many of those present in Lane Auditorium Wednesday morning were there to object to the Keene shooting range, an issue quickly taken off the table when Supervisor Duane Snow moved that only an indoor facility would be considered. Although the proposed firing range was in his district, Dumler, 27, had abstained from voting on the matter because of a conflict of interest, having been investigated and arrested by the police who wanted the training facility.
Snow made another motion: That Dumler resign. Three supervisors– Snow, Ken Boyd and Rodney Thomas– voted in favor of the motion.
Board Chair Ann Mallek introduced a motion that passed 5-0 to censure Dumler, who will serve 30 days in jail for his conviction. Dumler abstained in both votes.
Once public comment began, nearly a dozen citizens called for Dumler to resign, far outnumbering his supporters, a group that included Cynthia Neff, the former board candidate who posted Dumler's bond.
Former Scottville supervisor Peter Way said Dumler had "tragically failed" in his judgment of right and wrong. "He's lost his credibility," said Way, who also warned the other board members, "Your reputation as a board has been seriously damaged."
He was followed by another former Scottsville board member, Forrest Marshall, whose voice shook with indignation when he said, "I personally demand he leave this board." Marshall noted that other board members had not served time in jail, and called Dumler's conduct "totally, totally disrespectful."
Marshall cautioned that Dumler's behavior left him open to blackmail, and that other women could come forward. "I'm very much upset about this," he said.
Climate-change debunker Dr. Charles Battig pointed out the symbolism of the Board of Supervisors sitting on a raised dais, and said their behavior should be elevated as well.
Dumler originally was charged with felony forcible sodomy in October, and had he been convicted of a felony, he could have been removed from the board. Battig decried the nature of the crime. "It is time to do the right thing and step down, and not smile your way through," he urged Dumler.
"A vile and hurtful act occurred," said former Albemarle teacher Pat Napoleon." Just because someone is allowed to remain on the board doesn't make it okay." Napoleon, too, said, "I'm tired of viewing your smile. Tender your resignation."
Dumler's behavior, said Diane Weber, sent the message that getting elected to the Board of Supervisors meant a free pass to commit sexual battery. "A convicted sexual offender has no place on the Board of Supervisors."
"I'm here with outrage that there is an admitted sex offender sitting on this dais," echoed former Jefferson Area Tea Party chair Carole Thorpe.
And Earl Smith, who said he was not affiliated with any group, told the supervisors he's collecting signatures on a petition to recall Dumler, and that he needed 372 to do so. A recall petition would have to be signed by registered voters in the Scottsville district and total 10 percent of the votes cast in 2011, when Dumler won the seat.
Scottsville resident Dolores Rogers, who originally signed up to speak in opposition to the firing range, was one of the few to defend Dumler. She thanked him for his service, and said, "We as a nation have a long history of flawed leaders."
And she fired back at non-Scottsville residents calling for Dumler's resignation: "Don't tell us who should represent us."
The day after the meeting, despite the calls for his resignation, Dumler says, "My opinion hasn't changed after yesterday's meeting."
Updated 2/7 with Dumler response.