I wouldn’t work for Reo, either

Fear and Loathing in Waynesboro column by Chris Graham

“Where did you get that I work for Reo?”

Small towns being what they are, you run into people. At the grand opening for the new Kline’s Dairy Bar downtown today, I ran into Tom Reider, the guy who John Lawrence told me was among those interviewing him to run on their behalf for city council, who donated $200 to the campaign of the person who eventually got the nod to run for council, Bruce Allen, who helped Allen pick up his campaign signs the day after the election.

And who traveled to China with Reo Distribution officials in April, and famously reported on the trip to city council upon his return, “This isn’t a Reo thing.”

“I wouldn’t work for Reo,” Reider told me as I downed a cup of banana ice cream.

Good stuff, too, if I might digress for that one moment.

Fair enough on what Reider had to say about working for Reo. I wouldn’t work for Reo, either, so I definitely can share the love there. Had the chance to do so, back during his 2006 re-election campaign, and politely declined, for what are now probably pretty obvious reasons.

No hard feelings there. Just politics.

Reider said something similar to me related to another query.

“Who told you that I wanted to be city manager?” he asked me. I told him what I’ve been saying for weeks. Multiple sources told me at the time of the effective firing of city manager Doug Walker that there was a plan being put in place to replace Walker with someone close to the Frank Lucente-Tim Williams-Bruce Allen camp, and that the name that kept coming up in the context of that talk was that of Reider, a former Hershey Chocolate of Virginia plant manager.

Reider told me today that he never had any interest in becoming city manager.

“I don’t have any experience in government. That’s a whole different ballgame,” he said.

“No hard feelings. I just wanted you to know that I don’t have any interest in that,” Reider said.

Fair enough. And no hard feelings from this end, for what that’s worth. Because I still believe the gist of what I was told by sources that I consider to be quite reliable. Now, Tom Reider is telling me that he has never been interested, and I have no reason not to believe him. So maybe the speculation to the specifics of the name was wrong, and the indication today is that it was. But the substance of those earlier reports regarding the next city manager is still very much open for discussion.

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


augusta free press
augusta free press

augusta free press
augusta free press news