An apology to Lance Terpenny

Lance Terpenny spent his first day on the job as Floyd’s new town manager Monday.

The former Christiansburg administrator moves from managing the third largest incorporated town in Virginia to one of the smallest and takes an $80,000-a-year pay cut.

When I drove into town Monday I did not see a “Wall Mart Coming” sign on any vacant fields. No new empty storefronts appeared in downtown. No one circulated a petition for annexation.

So far, so good.

OK. I’m being facetious. There’s a fair amount of anxiety over Floyd’s new Town Manager and I created some of it.

In retrospect, I used language in some posts that was over the top. Normally, I wait for someone to fail before pulling out the hammer and nails and erecting a cross.

I’ve talked to several people that I trust who paint a different picture picture of Floyd’s newest official.  They tell me I was wrong about him. They also say he took the heat for many of the problems caused by Christiansburg’s Town Council.

While it is fair to raise questions for public discussion, it was not fair to Floyd’s new town manager or to the town government to do so with the ferocity that I used to go after Lance Terpenny.

I was wrong to do so and owe Terpenny an apology.

Let’s give the guy a chance.

(Edited on August 6)

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9 thoughts on “An apology to Lance Terpenny”

  1. Tweaking the Archives? It’s possible your apology is premature too. You claim to research topics prior to raising the issue. Some stories take time to develop and perhaps the rhetoric can get out of control. You are and were in control of real time events on this blog.

    Now you are demonstrating some odd logic. I should have reviewed what evidence you left behind before this commentary. You used the word REMOVED and that’s just the type of behavior people are concerned about in recorded history.

    It’s also noteworthy that you found a change of heart based on your trusted friends. I guess that’s a front room deal since you said it here instead of in a back room. I still wonder what the manager job is about. Apparently he simply followed TC commands and that explains everything. Of course he took the heat, he was the mouthpiece and some of the controversy was about who was pulling the strings of which character. I imagine that varied with the issues under consideration.

    It still looks like a good ole boy hiring that might have more to do with who he knows than some extraordinary management skills. It’s working, you talked to a few people and modified and erased whatever it is you are now apologizing for.

  2. I still wonder why our Town Council seemingly didn’t seriously consider his potential longevity as our Town Manager. It can be difficult to transition from a $130,000/year lifestyle to a $50,000/year lifestyle. After his first year here (taking into consideration his severance package from C-burg), he’s either going to have to make a drastic lifestyle adjustment, look for supplemental income elsewhere, or look for another job. And…Is he going to move to Floyd County?

  3. This post is the act of a gentleman of good character. I’m impressed. I think you two will become fast friends- after he lays a beatin’ on you for just cause :). You are both smart guys who care about good government and share a strange love for overweight scooters.

    • “…of good character;….lays a beatin’ (evenif meant ‘in-jest’):
      Character is lacking. Yes, certain affiliates of certain folks do make and take contracts, literally. It’s not even funny, though I wish it were.

  4. I don’t ‘hate’ anyone, but I may ‘hate’ their ways. Don’t blame Christiansburg Town Council for everything; nor should Terpenny be blamed for all failures. However, he was the ‘King’ of the town; at least his suggestions were most often supported by Council. Problems ’caused by Council’ most often were the result of suggestions from Terpenny. Just check the minutes, no matter the mythical ‘closed-door’/FOIA violation meetings.

    Terpenny’s legacy includes documented stand-alone, emphatic unfounded appeals to council (during open-session) against at least one citizen that I know that wanted to build a house. Meanwhile, developers were allowed to ‘run wild’, as was his ‘boy’ Randy Wingfield, via his recommendations to Council. Yes, his ‘yeas’ or ‘neas’ were most often honored. Wingfield was allowed to approve illegal permits (or lack of), with little or no oversight. That’s part of the Manager’s job-description, not Council.

    I’m still ‘looking’ for the $10 million cost-overrun from an initial $7 million project. Am I the only one (I don’t think so)?

    History often repeats, supposedly, but I hope not. I just dread the fact that Terpenny is still a ‘local’ citizen that likely has interplay with contractors and VDOT that has negatively effected so many. It;s not just a Floyd issue, it’s a regional issue.

    Yvonne: I doubt he will move to Floyd. His property in Christiansburg is where the Christian Growth Center once wanted to build some houses. Without their prescence, he ‘pop-shotted’ their efforts, during an open-council meeting (as if that made the foray ‘OK’). I don’t know which came first, the ‘chicken or the egg’ syndrome, whereas, by trying to block their houses, he either bought the land cheaply, or demanded privacy for his ‘hog’ gatherings on land that adjoined theirs; his mailbox sits there.

    Negativity is neither implied nor intended. ‘Facts are facts’; some ‘Dark Forces (as per Terpenny)’ still fear repercussions, even from statements as listed on this post.

    Apparently, others may realize the ‘fear factor’ is real. Is it really necessary to retract parts of truism commentaries ?…I know that it is your choice, Mr. Thompson, but in reality, it’s a rare event within media circles.

    Just tell me where the $10 million is, and I will ‘forget it all’; there’s too many other atrocities to list.

  5. I still think that the Town of Floyd doesn’t need a Town Manager . With a population of 436 and three employees, what will a manager do? Their’s no police, no water and sewer department, no fire and rescue department, no street department, no landfill operation.That leaves Zoning to be enforced and the citizens know that there isn’t many zoning requests and construction going on in the Town. I still say the Mayor can do the administrative duties and zoning and save the town citizens $50,000 in tax money. The County of Floyd issues the building permits and makes the inspections on all new construction.

  6. Watch out . As soon as Mr.Terpenny is fully vested in the state retirement program, he will leave for greener pastures, very likely Virginia Tech. And there are other moneys still being given to him from Christiansburg plus, of course that $130,000. Not to mention that he was asked to leave for very good reasons.

  7. Christiansburg councilperson Showalter called for a special meeting of Town Council for August 3rd, on behalf of Councilperson Ann Carter, in an effort to overturn part of a severance package for Terpenny.

    According to the R/Times, Showalter and Carter weren’t given full disclosure, including ‘merit-pay’, when voting on Terpenny’s resignation package.

    Besides, no matter the name, anyone that might receive merit-pay should only receive it from the time it was voted for, 2006 in this case, cutting 14 years off the ‘deal’. Some folks question the payment of a year of salary for someone that resigns upon request, and other actions.

    Enough is enough. At least in California, State inquiries are beginning in more than one case. Perhaps contacts from this area about the $10 million cost-overrun of a $ 7 million project, ‘polished off’ by a resignation with a lucrative severance package, got some of the ‘action’ started. It will most likely become a national theme, as citizens ‘wake-up’, as certain elected officials have to monitor fellow members of s Council, for instance. The whole scenario simply stinks! The $10k toilet-seat expenditures of the ‘Pentagon-syndrome’ have apparently been in-place in many local governments for years.

    Folks’ complaints are not about a ‘personality’, but about discretions and legalities of Council actions.
    Perhaps the tomorrow’s meet will cure some ills; it’s just the beginning of ‘cleaning house’ for many units of government throughout the USA. It IS the USA that we live in, thanks to all the good citizens, many of whom have lost their lives while defending our country and the ‘American way’. Relative communistic/kingdom/monarchy/dictator actions of some locales are simply theivery, and shall be snuffed.

    Ride on!

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