Out of the gate: Glenmore fields supe candidates
A special election to fill Chris Dumler's seat on the Board of Supervisors could signal a shift within the Scottsville District and give new clout to Albemarle County's largest gated community.
Republican Cindi Burket and Democrat Jane Dittmar both announced their candidacies last week and both live in Glenmore, which has a Keswick address on the northern end of the district. With around 750 homes, Glenmore is larger, newer, and more affluent than the town of Scottsville, which had a population of 566 in the 2010 census.
While Scottsville, the county seat of Albemarle until 1761, boasts a historic district and the James River, Glenmore has a country club, and golf carts are a popular mode of transportation. Home prices in Glenmore start at $400,000 and up, according to realtor and Glenmore resident Tom Pace, compared to Albemarle, which over the past two years has been selling more homes in the $200K range.
Elected officials have traditionally come from the district's southern end, and its two most recent supervisors— Dumler and multi-termer Lindsay Dorrier— have hailed from Scottsville.
It's been a tumultuous year for the district since Dumler was arrested for forcible sodomy in October and pleaded guilty to sexual battery in February. Outraged citizens lined up to speak at the Albemarle Board of Supervisors meetings, and a petition to remove Dumler from office was heard in Circuit Court, where a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to remove him. Days after the decision, Dumler resigned on June 5.
The current interim supervisor, Petie Craddock, who was appointed to the board July 10, will not seek to finish Dumler's two-year term in the November election.
"I thought it really important that someone step forward to calm the waters," says Cindi Burket. "We need honesty and integrity so the Scottsville District can move forward."
Burket, 60, former Albemarle Republican Party chair, was also a candidate for the interim seat, and she unsuccessfully ran for the county school board in 2011.
She moved here in 1997 and says her son is a graduate of Albemarle High. She has a degree in law enforcement and corrections from Penn State, and has a master’s in public administration from George Mason University— educational skills she says are well-suited for serving on the Board of Supervisors.
"All the things that come before the board require thoughtful, informed decisions," she says. "And I have the time to do that."
Burket lists the comprehensive plan, a police rifle range–– she prefers an indoor range— and cellphone coverage on Route 20 as important issues for the Scottsville District.
Although she's a Republican, Burket says she resigned as GOP chair because the Board of Supervisors is a nonpartisan position. "I will represent everyone," she says. "I don't think county issues are partisan."
Democrat Jane Dittmar served nine years as president/CEO of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. She currently works as a mediator for the Supreme Court of Virginia, and is a founding partner of Positive Solutions Group, a private mediation group.
Although she's never run for office, Dittmar, 57, says she's been involved in politics and was looking at candidates to run for Dumler's seat, but this wasn't a good year for the people she talked to. "I decided to step up," she says. "I think the Scottsville District is a little shell-shocked, and needs a candidate who knows the area, will do the work, is moderate, and has knowledge of the issues."
A UVA grad in economics, Dittmar also may have inherited tendencies toward public service. Her mother, Virginia DeSimone, held national office in the League of Women Voters, and was the league's state president.
Her mother is now 83. "She said if you're ever going to do it, I wish you'd do it so I can be a part of it," relates Dittmar.
Dittmar acknowledges that Glenmore may have its own issues, but says there are district-wide concerns such as the firing range, hunting and trespassing, and local schools. "There are local road issues that sound like real yawners," she says, "but traffic is a real granular issue that's important to people."
Scottsville Weekly editor Bebe Williams says he doesn't know either candidate, and notes that Burket was the only person seeking the interim supervisor seat who signed the petition to oust Dumler.
"I'm hoping a good-quality independent person from the Scottsville side will run against the two Glenmore neighbors," he says. "It's a good chance that an Independent can win this election."
Earl Smith, who gathered signatures to oust Dumler from office, is less concerned about where candidates reside and notes that Glenmore is still part of the district. "You don't have to be in the middle of the district," he says. "That's like saying someone in Lake Monticello can't represent Fluvanna."
Candidates have until August 16 to file for the special election, and the winner will be sworn in immediately after the November 5 election and serve through the end of 2015.
Three other seats on the Board of Supervisors are up for grabs: Democrat Liz Palmer is challenging Republican incumbent Duane Snow for the Samuel Miller District, Dem Brad Sheffield eyes Republican Rodney Thomas' Rio seat, and independents Diantha McKeel and Phillip Seay vie for the Jack Jouett seat.