April 22, 2024

"Photo by Patrikk Houštecký via Pixabay

Front Royal Town Councilman Duane R. “Skip” Rogers has filed a complaint with the Front Royal Police Department saying that he believes I threw a large rock that broke the windshield of his vehicle.

The claim is ridiculous, and I am disgusted by the fact that a town council member would make such a ludicrous and unfounded claim. Being questioned by the officer responding to the call was the first time in my life I’ve had to make a statement as to my whereabouts.

Body-worm camera footage of FRPD responding to Skip Roger’s home

I believe that my wife, Crystal Cline’s campaign for Warren County Sheriff is the reason the claim was made. Rogers has stated publicly that he supports Sheriff Mark Butler’s bid for a second term.

In July, I learned from several people that Rogers said he was investigating the Warren County Builder’s Association, of which I am president. On July 29, Rogers, Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Vicky Cook and I were all at the downtown gazebo, so I asked them to discuss the rumors I’d been hearing about an investigation of the association.

Ms. Cook immediately left, but Skip and I had a discussion. I recall that in one of Butler’s many interviews with the Royal Examiner, he alluded to the fact that he was checking out a local nonprofit. I asked if Sheriff Butler had requested that he investigate the association. Rogers admitted that the sheriff had asked him and three others to “investigate” the association, though he would not divulge the names of the others or why they were asked to investigate.

On behalf of the association members, I requested a meeting with Rogers and the other “investigators”, but he refused. He continues to state that he has constituents who “want answers” regarding the WCBA, but we still have not been able to get any information about those wanting answers—or what their questions are–but we will happily answer any questions if they are brought to our attention.

Shortly after, the Warren County Builder’s Association invited all local candidates to participate in a September candidates forum, a first for the group. Rogers accepted, with the proviso that he could “bring the press” with him. As we had planned to have the press coverage, we took Rogers at his word that he would attend.

Rogers did not attend, but later showed up at the local voting site reportedly telling voters that the builders association forum was unethical. That’s a ridiculous claim—it was a chance for the public to hear from all candidates.

Another troubling incident–Why would Rogers, as a veterans’ advocate and public official, have a 9/11 memorial event and only invite his buddy the county sheriff to attend/participate? He claimed that he “advertised the event on six sites”—which he did not name—but an internet search for the event showed only one, Rogers’ own business website. Advertising an event and inviting an agency to participate in the event are two entirely different things. And for the record, neither the Front Royal Police Department nor Warren County Fire and Rescue were invited to participate in the event.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the events occurring at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC and a field in Shanksville, Pa. drew first responders from all agencies, not just county sheriffs.

It was petty, unprofessional and speaks to Rogers’ willingness to put his own interests above the people he was appointed to represent. How ironic, considering he stated in an interview published Sept. 2, 2023, on the Royal Examiner that a top priority is improving the strained relationship between the county and the town.

Perhaps Mr. Rogers could explain to all of us how his actions of late show his willingness to improve the relationship between Front Royal and Warren County.

George E. Cline
Front Royal, VA

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