EDITORIAL: Conflict of Interest


September 4, 2013

This editorial should not have to be written, because the issue should be obvious.  Sadly, that is not the case in Northampton County – or especially Cape Charles, where conflicts of interest are more common than September hurricanes. (Click here for an egregious example five years ago.)

Resident in Cape Charles is a remarkable individual known to all as Bob Panek. Once the acting town manager, he now prefers to be the assistant.  He was the chief consultant for construction of the Town’s wastewater treatment plant.  He is president of Citizens for Central Park.  At candidate debates before the last three elections, Mr. Panek decided which questions were asked and to whom, despite his unconcealed partisanship. And finally, which is the point of this editorial, he is chairman of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Public Service Authority, whose purpose is to study, implement, and operate water and sewer systems.

Mr. Panek was appointed by Cape Charles Town Council to represent the Town on the PSA. This was wrong, because it violates the principle of separation between a paid public employee and an elected or appointed official.  One might have hoped that Town Council understood that principle, after two town employees ceased to serve on Town Council. A paid town employee should not be appointed or elected to a town board or commission and should not be the town’s representative on a county board or commission. [Read more…]


Missed the Lighthouse Raid Lecture? Catch It In Onancock

Lunch & Lecture: Attack! The 1863 Confederate Raid on the Cape Charles Lighthouse, 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 4, Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society, Onancock. [Read more…]