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Culpeper Town Council fires town manager

The Culpeper Town Council voted 5-2 to terminate the employment of Town Manager Kimberly Alexander following a 90-minute special meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor Chip Coleman and councilman Dan Boring were not at the meeting.

Councilman Ben Phillips made the motion to fire Alexander and councilman Bobby Ryan seconded it. Vice Mayor Mike Olinger and councilman David Lochridge voted against the motion.

Alexander will receive six months severance pay, per her contract. Assistant Town Manager Chris Hively will be in charge of the day-to-day business of the town until a new town manager is hired, according to council procedures.

Tuesday night's session was the fourth one in recent months, all believed to have dealt at least in part with Alexander's job performance.

“It's very disheartening,” said Alexander, reached by phone Tuesday night. “You try to do the right thing and sometimes you can't win no matter how hard you try.

“I served at the pleasure of the council and they were certainly within their rights to fire me.”

Alexander said she would be issuing a statement in the near future and that she hopes to again serve another locality as manager.

Alexander was hired in June 2011 and began work on August 15, 2011. She had previously served as town manager of Dumfries from 2009-11. She was the youngest town manager in Culpeper history.

Alexander had initiated an investigation of Culpeper Town Police Captain Chris Settle several months ago and placed him on paid administrative leave. There were more than 30 allegations of wrongdoing, but an independent investigator hired by the town found only three of the allegations were valid. Alexander was planning to make a decision this week on discipline for Settle.

Settle has been with the Culpeper Police Department for more than 10 years.

Town Public Information Officer Wally Bunker resigned abruptly last Wednesday. He reportedly disagreed with Alexander on the way in which the Settle investigation was being conducted. He did not respond to a request for comments at that time.

Culpeper Times sent e-mails to all nine council members Tuesday night and three of them responded with brief statements to the effect that the town would now move forward with Hively until a replacement for Alexander could be found.

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