Many localities require that town employees desiring to run for elected office take an unpaid leave of absence while campaigning. They also require that, if elected, the employee resign their original position. Laws such as these prevent potential conflicts of interests. For example, a newly elected member of a town council might serve as a member of law enforcement while at the same time, now voting on budgetary matters related to his/her job as a police officer. Or, an individual who, as a town employee and member of the town council might feel pressured to vote on town matters in a certain way.
At the Purcellville Town Council Worksession on February 25, council members voted unanimously, with Mayor Bob Lazaro absent for the vote, to repeal Purcellville’s Town Code Section 42-41 (Political Activity). This would allow a town employee to serve on town council, for example, without resigning their original job with the town. Earlier in the month the town manual was also changed so that a town employee would not be required to take an unpaid leave of absence while running for political office. Lt. James Rust of the Purcellville police force is running for town council. Under the new rules, Rust is not required to take an unpaid leave of absence while campaigning, and if elected, he can still hold positions on both the police force and the town council.