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Fred Howe Resigns from VRE Board

Councilman Fred Howe submitted an email letter of resignation to the Mayor Wednesday morning.

Councilmember Fred Howe (Ward 3) resigned as Fredericksburg's Virginia Railway Express (VRE) board member Wednesday morning, over a City Council resolution passed Tuesday evening (attached).

The resoulation notes the council's opposition to HB2152, a bill that would change the voting practices of the VRE Operations Board

In an email to Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, copied to the full council, Howe said, "the vote taken last evening does not represent in my opinion the necessary governance, the ridership and the tax paying citizens of the City and of the Commonwealth or my professional ethics — as an elected official."

The complete letter of resignation is reprinted below:

Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw –

Please accept this email as my resignation as the Fredericksburg board member on the VRE, based on the passing of this attached resolution by City Council last evening.

It is apparent that the Council majority position with the vote taken last evening does not represent in my opinion the necessary governance, the ridership and the tax paying citizens of the City and of the Commonwealth or my professional ethics — as an elected official.

I have enjoyed learning, serving and representing the City of Fredericksburg on the VRE board and I believe I have set the City up for future strategic opportunities.

Respectfully,

Fred
Frederic N. Howe, III

Fredericksburg Patch has contacted Mr. Howe for further comment.

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TPKeller February 13, 2013 at 04:17 PM
This is a most unfortunate development. It appeared to me that only one person in the room both understood the issue, AND considered it to be an important discussion, and his clearly stated preference did not prevail. I can't say I fully understood the issue, but it sure sounded to me a lot like the VRE governing organization is nothing more than a bunch of selfish kids squabbling over who has the most marbles in their sack, and therefore, who gets to make up the rules of the game.
Matthew Kelly February 13, 2013 at 04:38 PM
It is not an easy issue to understand. As I noted, the VRE governing structure (including the PRTC component) is rather cumbersome and Byzantine. Frankly the state should be running VRE and not multiple jurisdictions. None of the jurisdictions I am aware of are opposed to changes to VRE governamce. The issue at hand is whether this change shold be legislated or negotiated. Speaking as the city representative on both FAMPO and PRTC I'm getting a bit tired of the state ignoring local concerns and taking unilateral (and frankly detrimental) action as noted last night. The changes to the PRTC board in this legislation was never presented to the PRTC board! The changes to PRTC are detrimental to city's position.. Instead of votes by jurisdictions it would be one person one vote. Finally, the real question is whether these procedural changes would improve or expand VRE service? The answer is no.
Matthew Kelly February 13, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I do agree that Mr. Howe's desiion to resign is unfortunate. While we differ on this particular issue Mr. Howe's commitment and hard work to promote good governance cannot be questioned and is needed. I do hope he will reconsider his resignation.
Hamilton February 14, 2013 at 02:00 AM
I hope Mr. Howe reconsiders. He is is a business person in a sea of bureaucrats. He 'gets it'.

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