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The loudest silence I’ve ever heard

Fear and Loathing in Waynesboro column by Chris Graham

Silence. Absolute silence. That’s what we’ve gotten from Bruce Allen regarding the effective firing of city manager Doug Walker that he helped engineer.

The official word, according to a News Leader reporter with whom I spoke Thursday, is that Allen is out of town, and that’s why he has not been able to get back to anybody in the local news media regarding the Walker news.

I don’t know. According to a story in the News Virginian earlier this month, Allen has two cell phones, and he knows how to use them. So maybe he just doesn’t want to talk to reporters about his role in this curious move.

And yes, I know what I’m saying when I use the word curious. It’s been clear for months what the ultraconservatives were planning to do should they prevail in the city elections held earlier this month. They had already talked former city attorney Bob Lunger out of sticking around through the election, pushing him to fall on his sword back in April. And the writing was on the wall as far as Walker was concerned.

That said, the ultras played nice to their voting public, decrying what they termed backroom maneuvering on the part of the current (through June 30) council majority and promising to conduct public business in the open. The word curious – that’s the only way to describe Tim Williams meeting with Walker shortly after the election to privately ask him to submit his resignation, setting into motion the chain of events that led to a phone call from Walker to Allen to ask the councilman-elect if he supported the move.

Sources with direct knowledge of what transpired have told me that Allen told Walker that he would have to call him back before he could give him an answer to that question. We of course know what happened next.

This from the man that kingmaker Frank Lucente famously said would be “his own independent voice,” and he is proving that statement to be 100 percent dead on. As far as his handlers are concerned, Allen is “his own independent voice.” He just has to check with them first before he says what he wants to say.

Here’s to hoping that they give him permission to talk about this mess that he helped create. Inquiring minds want to know …