Six Augusta County supervisors are mad at the seventh because they think he leaked confidential info to the local media.
It’s now been made clear to me what they think Wayne District Supervisor Scott Seaton leaked, and speaking as a member of the local media, I can tell you, nope, they got it wrong, way wrong.
The story that’s getting back to me the past couple of days is that the specifics as to what board members are upset with Seaton over has to do with the surprise resignation of Steven Morelli from his South River seat in March.
Morelli formally resigned on March 20, which was a Monday, and was the date for a scheduled BOS work session, where the resignation was announced to the public.
The way these things work, the work sessions are open to the public, but by and large, members of the news media, because we have so much else going on, and because the briefings are anything but brief, sometimes going on for three hours-plus on a Monday afternoon, we tend not to staff them, unless there’s something juicy on the agenda that gets our attention.
On March 19, a Sunday, in the mid-afternoon, we at AFP were contacted by Seaton to tell us to make sure to pay attention to the work session because something was going to come up that readers would want to be aware of.
That was it.
I presume other local media types would have gotten a similar heads up.
Now, of course, this sent us into overdrive, and I, again, presume that our cohorts at the other outlets had a similar reaction.
What was it – an economic development announcement, maybe?
That’s where my mind was, anyway.
That’s always where my mind is on these things.
Because of prior commitments, we weren’t able to have anybody at the Monday work session, so we planned to check the Facebook video afterward to see if we missed anything.
Before we could hit the archive to see, we had an announcement late Monday afternoon from the county administrator’s office announcing Morelli’s resignation.
Going back to watch the discussion later, the only thing that hinted to it being more than a simple resignation was a cryptic comment from, yes, Seaton, which he offered after County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald read the statement that was included in the email announcement to the local media after the meeting.
“I was going to make a statement. However, the board and the victims have asked me to hold off on that, and so I’ll choose to hold off right now regarding the South River resignation there,” Seaton said.
So, Seaton referenced “victims,” which of course got us media types working the phones and emails to find out what he was referring to there.
It didn’t take long to find out that we weren’t the only ones wondering what the heck, and that there were plenty of people who knew, or thought they knew, what the heck, but I can tell you that we never got enough to work with that we could use to publish a story as to what the heck.
Until BOS Chair Michael Shull did that for us at the July 13 supes’ meeting.
Shull, spelling out why he was supporting a motion on the table to censure Seaton, referenced how “several board members were asked about one case of sexual harassment, and I was asked that when I came right over here, several other board members were, too. And I thought, did they have a tin can against the wall listening to us there? How was that knowledge disclosed that quickly?”
Shull’s comment there on July 13 linking the board’s issue with Seaton to sexual harassment is the only on-the-record confirmation about the Morelli resignation and sexual harassment that I’m aware of at this point.
Found your leaker, right there.
Maybe the BOS should censure Michael Shull.