Home Waynesboro City Council introduces ordinance to dissolve Valley ASAP program
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Waynesboro City Council introduces ordinance to dissolve Valley ASAP program

Crystal Graham
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Waynesboro City Manager Mike Hamp recommended to City Council that the Valley Alcohol Safety Action Program, or VASAP, permanently close, and that the state continue delivering services to Waynesboro, Staunton, Augusta County, Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista.

The move comes after the VASAP program shut down this fall after the Commission on VASAP stepped in and closed the doors. The employees there were told to go home and eventually asked to resign for their positions.

On Monday night, Hamp said the Commission on VASAP assumed responsibility for the Valley program after staff members resigned.

See staff briefing here.

The local board that oversees VASAP, which includes Hamp, in conjunction with the state commission, “determined it would be in the best interest of member localities to dissolve the organization.”

The local board adopted a resolution supporting the move. However, Hamp said, the law requires that the member jurisdictions also vote to authorize the dissolution.

Hamp said it is possible the state will continue “indefinitely delivering service or they might elect to merge our geography with another ASAP program in the area.”

The ordinance, Hamp said, would formally dissolve ASAP and provide a wind-up process for the organization’s outstanding assets and liabilities. Hamp said 12 months after the ordinance is enacted, the remaining funds would be distributed to localities in equal shares.

“Frankly, I don’t anticipate that there will be significant remaining funds at that time. It’s worth nothing that localities have not been contributing financially to the operation of this program. They’re funded largely by fees for service and the block grant it receives from the commission,” Hamp said. “This has been somewhat a source of stress and concern because the services provided are pretty valuable to our residents who encounter either a need or a mandate to receive these services through the general district court or a court system.

The ordinance was introduced by council member Bruce Allen and seconded by Vice Mayor Jim Wood. The final consideration of the ordinance will take place at the Jan. 8 regular business meeting of Waynesboro City Council.

The VASAP program was formed in 1987.

The assertation by Hamp that staff members resigned would likely be contested by former employees of the VASAP Staunton office who said the state locked them out of their computers and email, and they were told to pack up their offices.

Former employees spoke with AFP after the office closed saying the directive to shut down the office came from the state commission and only after that decision was made were employees, including executive director Miles Bobbit, asked to resign.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.