Email records obtained by the Star-Tribune through FOIA requests from Pittsylvania County Department of Social Services Director Sherry Flanagan from August 2017 indicated Flanagan was ‘fearful’ of county administrator David Smitherman and worried her board would be eliminated.
On August 15, 2017, Brenda Robertson, Administrative Assistant/Legal Assistant for County Attorney Vaden Hunt emailed Flanagan to, “please forward a copy of the DSS bylaws for my review via email.” The email did not provide any other information.
Flanagan replied the afternoon of August 15 and asked why Hunt was requesting the bylaws but did not receive a reply.
A week later on August 22, Flanagan replied and again wanted to know why Hunt was requesting them. A day before on August 21, she asks the same question to DSS counsel Tim Fisk.
“Did you hear from Vaden [Hunt] as to why he wants our By-Laws? I am a little fearful of the new county administrator that he is going to try and eliminate my board and have me report directly to him,” Flanagan wrote in an email to Fisk on August 21.
According to the records, Pittsylvania County Attorney Vaden Hunt requested a copy of the DSS bylaws.
Fisk replied the following day, August 22, 2017 and said there was no communication from Hunt regarding his reason for the request.
“It seems to us that anyone, including a citizen, could request a copy of the By-Laws under a FOIA request. They would have to be produced and given to the requestor. There appears to be nothing exceptional or concerning to me upon a “quick” read,” Fisk said in reply. He also noted that unless there were any other questions or concerns, he would send the bylaws to Hunt that afternoon.
In Flanagan’s reply to Fisk’s email, she indicates she still wants to know why Hunt wants the bylaws.
“I asked the county administrator [Monday, August 21] and he acted like he was unaware why he would want them. I am concerned that the Board of Supervisors is trying to eliminate my Board and have me answer directly to the County Administrator which I do not want. I am just trying to be prepared as I also have a board member that I am concerned about as well. I guess there is no harm in sending it other than we will never get a response as to why,” Flanagan replied to Fisk.
Fisk then replied that afternoon, August 22 and said, “I will hold off sending them to Vaden until we get a response to my inquiry.”
A phone call between Fisk and Flanagan was scheduled according to the emails for the morning of Wednesday, August 23.
It was unclear from emails if the bylaws were sent to Hunt.