Manassas Journal Messenger | Dumfries Town Manager fired

A month shy of being two years on the job, Dumfries Town Manager John Barkley was fired Tuesday night by the Dumfries Town Council.

His dismissal was immediate.

The discussions were held during a two-and-a-half-hour closed session. Mayor Melvin “Mel” Bray declined to reveal Wednesday afternoon the reasons why Barkley was fired.

“I won’t say anything about that,” Bray said.

The council then came out in public and voted four to three to terminate Barkley’s employment.

Voting to fire Barkley were Town Councilwomen Stephanie Bradley, Brenda Via and Sue Cornell as well as Councilman Rafael Lopez. Voting against were: Bray, Vice Mayor Clyde Washington and Councilman Cliff Brewer.

“I would rather not make a statement at this time but I hope to do so in the near future after things settle down a bit,” Cornell said Wednesday.

Neither Bradley, Via nor Lopez could be reached Wednesday for comment.

Barkley is the sixth town manager Dumfries has had in the last 12 years. He is the third to be fired by the council.

“It’s another stain on the town of Dumfries,” said Bray, who has been a strong supporter of Barkley since he was hired in May 2003.

“Over the last three years I’ve been working hard to do away with the negative stigma and boost the image of the town of Dumfries. John [Barkley] had been assisting me with this. I welcomed his good ideas and his leadership within the town.

“This is too bad. We’ve taken a step backwards,” Bray said. “But, we will move on and hopefully we’ve learned something from this.”

Bray will serve as both mayor and town manager until a new manager is hired. He did when then town manager Ron Waller retired in January 2003.

Bray said he contacted the Virginia Municipal League on Wednesday morning to ask for its assistance not only in finding a new town manager, but also to find an interim town manager to guide the town until a permanent replacement is found for Barkley.

Bray said he was working on the wording for the advertisement for the position.

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