Washington Town Council member Daniel Spethmann resigned yesterday (Wednesday, Nov. 5) by letter to Mayor John Sullivan and the rest of the town council, a letter in which he said his business has recently required him to spend “more time away than in town.”
“Given the many needs the Town has and our enthusiasm for the Town to continue to prosper, flourish, and to become all it can be — I believe Town Council will be better served by another member than I,” Spethmann wrote.
Spethmann also has been dealing, most recently in Rappahannock County Circuit Court, with a judgement of debt originally stemming from a jury’s award in a civil trial in Dallas County in February 2004 — for $2.4 million (plus assorted interest). The original suit was brought by a principal of Strategic Gas Services Inc., a Texas company in which Spethmann was a partner, over what the former partner said was a $300,000 loan that was never repaid. The local circuit court actions are part of the legal collection process.
Sullivan said yesterday that he both regretted and understood Spethmann’s decision. Sullivan said he and the council have been aware “for some time” that Spethmann’s employment was taking him to Illinois and elsewhere often, and that he’d missed several recent meetings.
The town council has 45 days from yesterday to appoint a successor, something Sullivan said he hoped would be done by the seven-member council’s Dec. 9 meeting. Interested parties can file a letter with the council at least a week before that meeting, Sullivan said.
A circuit court judge will decide if, and when, a special election will be held to elect a successor to Spethmann, Sullivan said. The next regular election for town officials is in May 2018.