Questions from the Campaign

August 10, 2019

Answers to key questions Walt Mabe has been asked to date on the campaign trail.

Q: Why are you running for the Board of Supervisors (BOS)?

Because Warren County needs a complete top-to-bottom change in local leadership.  We can no longer tolerate local leadership that:

  • Allowed the largest embezzlement in the history of Virginia to occur —  making Front Royal the laughing stock of the state. 
    • Raised Warren County taxes at a time that other counties are lowering taxes.
      • Caused the morale of Warren County residents to drop to all-time lows.
      • Has little vision for the future of the county.

Q:  Are you a leader?

Yes.  I have always:

  • Set good goals and effectively communicated them to subordinates.
    • Kept promises I make.
      • Kept those working for me up to date on issues that personally affect their lives.

Q: What are the key issues in this campaign?

  • Corruption
    • Restoring trust in local government, which is virtually non-existent at the present time
      • Taxes.
      • Public safety.
      • Education — half of the country’s million-dollar budget is spent on education.

Q: What is the biggest problem facing Warren County?

The demoralizing impact on local residents of the EDA scandal — of the loss of more than $20 million of taxpayers’ money.  Residents are extremely angry.  They realize that locally-elected officers completely ignored red flags clearly evident two years that could have prevented the scandal.

Q:  Why are you so motivated to hold frequent public meetings?

Because I feel strongly that elected officials have a moral obligation to keep residents up to date on issues affecting their lives (e.g., allegations of corruption, taxes, public safety, education, etc.).  The current board has completely lost the trust of people who elected them.

Q:  What is your background and work experience?

  • I was born and raised in Eden, North Carolina, where I was a lineman on the football team and shot-putter on the track team.
    • I served five years in the U.S. Marines (1971-1976) in aviation electronics.
      • I worked nine years in electronic shops in northern Virginia (1976-1985).
      • I worked eight years working in the banking and mortgage-lending business in northern Virginia (1985-1993), at which time my my wife Taffy and our two children lived in Front Royal.  Taffy graduated from Warren County High School in 1971.  Our two children graduated from Warren County High School during the time we lived in Front Royal.
      • Taffy and I moved to Las Vegas in 1993 where I worked twenty-one years as a project-manager in the telecommunication industry, “I managed anywhere from ten to 300 people” — depending on the project.

Q:  What is the number one responsibility of a project manager?

The successful completion of a project.

Q:  Were you a successful project manager?

Yes.  I received numerous awards and promotions for twenty-one years.

Q:  What experience as a project-manager have you had that will enable you to solve the huge problems confronting Warren County?

As a project manager, I have acquired the skills to: 

  • Ask penetrating questions.
    • Detect unstated assumptions.
      • Manage risks.
      • Minimize uncertainty.
      • Develop and maintain open communications with customers.
      • Develop budgets.
      • Develop plans, schedules, and estimates how long tasks will take.

Q:  What are your views on education?

I believe strongly that “every child should have the opportunity to get the best education possible” — whether that education takes place in a:

  • Home school.
    • Church-based school.
      • Private school.
      • Public school

Q:  What is your assessment of the effectiveness of Warren Country public school administration?

It is failing our students.  I don’t believe the more than $50 million that Warren County currently spends on public education is being spent effectively.  Once elected, I will look closely at the school budget.

Q: What local government agency was the most DERELICT in allowing the EDA scandal to spiral out of control?

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) by a large margin! 

Q:  Why do you say the BOS were so derelict?

Because they did nothing for almost two years after the first big red flag on the EDA board went up in November 2016.  Not untilSeptember 2018 was the Cherry Bekaert auditing firm hired to conduct a forensic audit of the EDA board.  Why did it take almost two years to initiate the forensic audit?  How much evidence was  destroyed in the interim?

Q:  What could the BOS have done between November 2016 (when the first red flag went up) and September 2018 (when Cherry Bekaert was hired)?

A lot:

  1. They could have immediately questioned in detail the EDA board on the very questionable I.T.Federal contract.
    1. If they didn’t like the answers they were getting from the EDA, the BOS could have immediately:

                   — Requested a forensic audit or criminal investigation of the EDA                                       board.

                   — Dismissed individual members of the EDA board for not providing                         credible information.

                   — Dismissed all seven members of the EDA board by conducting                                        seven individual votes.

The Board of Supervisors did none of these things.  They sat on their hands for almost two years.  They had blinders on.  They were incredibly poor leaders. They were simply derelict. 

Q: What is the difference between an “annual audit” and a “forensic audit”?

An annual audit is where an organization selects which of its financial books are to be inspected.  A forensic audit is an in-depth audit of all of an organization’s financial records:

  • Conducted by specially-trained auditors. 
    • Looking for evidence of criminal activity like fraud and embezzlement. 

Also, very important, a forensic audit allows specially trained auditors to examine the financial records of organizations with whom the EDA board was doing business.   

Q:  What would you have done in 2016 if you had been on the Board of Supervisors — tried to get a forensic audit of the EDA board conducted — and were outvoted by the board as a whole?

I would have immediately:

  • Used the bully pulpit to alert the community to what appears to be happening on the EDA board.
    • Called a public meeting of his Shenandoah District constituents.
      • Explained in detail the red flags indicating something was amiss on the EDA board.
      • Conducted press conferences and special interviews with the media.
      • Written “open letters” to the media and government officials asking for their assistance in getting a forensic audit initiated.
      • Demanded the Board of Supervisors revote to get a “forensic audit” initiated.

Q:  Some Republicans say you are a “closet Democrat masquerading as an independent.”  Is this true?

  • Absolutely not.  The charges are patently false.  I am a conservative independent.
    • In fact the reason that I am running as an Independent is that Warren County needs a “true conservative voice” to clean up the mess that poor local leadership has created.  I am that independent voice.  

Q:  During the campaign, will you appear at “any meeting of all Republicans”?

Under no circumstances.  I am an Independent.

Q:  During the campaign, will you appear at “any meeting of all Democrats”?

Under no circumstances.  I am an Independent

Q: Are you willing to debate your opponent during the campaign?

Yes.  I want voters to see where my views on the issues are different from my opponent’s.

Q:  What kind of campaign will you run?
A very positive campaign.  I like to deal with facts.  I don’t like to sling mud.

Q: What promises has your opponent failed to keep?

  • He promised not to raise taxes — but he did in 2018. 
    • He promised to hold frequent public meetings with constituents but has not initiated one during his three years on the Board of Supervisors. 

Q:  What one question would you like to ask your opponent in a debate?

Why did you not use all the tools you had available to get a forensic audit conducted of the EDA board?  You could have held press conference, written open letters, conducted special interviews, etc. — and you did virtually nothing.   

Q:  Is too much Board of Supervisors business done “in closed session”?

Yes.  Too much business is discussed in “closed sessions” where there is not pubic record.

Q:  Are you a “fiscal conservative”?

Yes.

Q:  Do you believe in “zero-based budgeting”?

Yes.

Q: Are you “pro-life”?

Yes.

Q:  Do you believe “party-politics plays too big a role in local elections”?

Yes.  Party politics should play no role in local elections.

Q:  Once elected, what is the first thing you will bring up at your first public meeting?

How can the Board of Supervisors restore public trust in local government following the EDA scandal? 

Q:  Will you allow details of the EDA scandal to be swept under the rug?
No.

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