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The town's mayor would not discuss the reasons for the firing. Lynn Frith says his relationship with the town council went downhill after he questioned the mayor's cellphone charges.
The Roanoke Times | File 1999
Lynn Frith, Boones Mill’s longtime manager, colorful police chief and utilities supervisor, has been fired.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Ben Flora, mayor of the town of Boones Mill in Franklin County, confirmed Monday that the town council voted unanimously Thursday after a special meeting to fire Lynn Frith, the town’s longtime manager, colorful police chief and utilities supervisor.
Flora, citing privacy and personnel laws, would not comment about the reasons for Frith’s firing.
“It was not an overnight decision,” he said.
The council voted 5-0 to end Frith’s employment, Flora said. One council member, Richard Miller, was absent.
Frith, 64, said Monday that friction with the town council began in March after he determined during budget meetings that Flora was charging the cost of his personal cellphone, as well as the cellphone of his mother, to the town. He said he reported his findings to the office of the commonwealth’s attorney for Franklin County.
“Since then, everything has gone downhill,” Frith said. “It seemed like there was retribution from that.”
In turn, Flora described as “hogwash” Frith’s statement that he had learned of the cellphone charges in March. He said Frith had actually encouraged him in 2010 to charge his cellphone to the town and that his mother’s phone had been on his account at the time and Frith told him not to worry about that.
“There was no action by the commonwealth’s attorney,” Flora said. “I know I have nothing to fear. I have nothing to worry about.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Allen could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Flora denied Frith’s firing was an act of retribution for reporting the cellphone charges.
“That is not a reason council chose to terminate his employment,” he said.
He noted that the mayor votes only to break a tie and that five council members voted to fire Frith.
“I didn’t have a vote,” Flora said. “He wants to avoid all the other reasons [for his firing].”
Frith said he had been a town employee for about 24 years. He has sparred with town councils on occasion in years past and became well known for relying on hot cars, such as a Camaro and a Pontiac GTO sport coupe, as police cruisers and nabbing speeders as they drove through Boones Mill on U.S. 220.
Flora said the town has not yet decided how to replace Frith. He said there is a chance more than one person will be hired to avoid multiple responsibilities. He said that he, the town council and the town clerk will do what they can to manage the town until someone is hired. The town police force has an auxiliary officer but Flora said it’s not yet clear who will handle town law enforcement.
The 2010 U.S. census counted 239 residents of Boones Mill.
Frith said he will consult a lawyer to “determine a course of action.”
Meanwhile, he said problems are developing because he has not been supervising water and sewer maintenance since Thursday.
“There is already a leak on Easy Street,” he said.
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