Dumler recall: Supe has (another) day in court
Albemarle Supervisor Chris Dumler, unshaven since he began spending his weekends in jail, appeared in Albemarle Circuit Court April 2 because of a citizen's petition to remove him from office.
Dumler and the petitioner, Keene resident Earl Smith, sat opposite each other on the front row in the courtroom filled with at least two dozen people who've appeared at supervisors meetings and publicly said they want Dumler gone.
Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Doucette, who was appointed special prosecutor March 27, said he was not ready to move forward on the case. Nor was Dumler's just-hired attorney, Jessica Phillips, who wants a motion hearing once Doucette specifies the grounds upon which the state law allows for removal of an elected official.
The rarely used Virginia statute allows a circuit court judge to remove for "neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties" that have a "material adverse effect" upon the conduct of the office.
Judge Paul Peatross set dates for upcoming hearings. Dumler's lawyer will move to dismiss the petition at an April 29 hearing; the case is scheduled for trial May 20.
Doucette told the judge he was handling a similar case in Sussex County. According to news reports, citizens launched a recall of Sussex Board of Supervisors chair Rufus Tyler, who is accused of altering the minutes of a special meeting in which the county administrator was fired.
After the five-minute hearing, Dumler came out of the courthouse with his lawyer, who declined comment.
As Dumler was surrounded by people holding "No sexual batterer on board" signs and a blown-up poster of him on the cover of the mugshot tabloid Crime Times, NBC29's Henry Graff asked Dumler how he was feeling. "I'm feeling just fine," said Dumler as he walked down the courthouse steps.
"Don't you wink at me," shouted an angry woman as he went by.
In other Dumler news, residents of the Scottsville district have been receiving a glossy 2012 annual report from Dumler touting his accomplishments last year, such as "nearly 1,000 meetings," more than 12,500 miles driven and the semi-monthly emails sent out to constituents.
The report now is a bit out of date as it lists the board committees from which Dumler has resigned, and does not mention his arrest for forcible sodomy in October,
The report notes that it was paid for by the "Dumler for supervisor campaign."
He writes in an email that he had about $3,000 left from his campaign and had been working on the report since last November. He notes that campaign funds can't be used for to finance personal legal expenses, "in case someone is wondering why I'm printing fancy reports while at the same time not being able to afford an attorney."
Says Dumler, "To my knowledge, I am the only supervisor who actively raises money for the purpose of keeping constituents informed about county business, a practice I've maintained since I was elected."