- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2009



VDOT to lay off 600 employees

The Virginia Department of Transportation is informing about 600 full-time workers this week that they’re losing their jobs.

VDOT Commissioner David Ekern said Monday the agency is notifying individual employees in its central Richmond office and its nine districts about the job reductions. They are part of a previously announced plan to cut 1,000 full-time and 450 part-time workers to help address a projected six-year, $2.6 billion revenue shortfall. The agency currently has about 8,200 workers and is required to reduce staffing to 7,500 employees by next July.

The full-time-worker layoffs follow last month’s reductions of part-timers, and a final wave of layoffs is expected in the winter. Overall, the job cuts are expected to save the state about $391 million over six years.

The cuts announced this week will mainly affect workers statewide in preliminary engineering and construction, as road construction projects are being cut by $2 billion, or about 36 percent, over the next six years, Mr. Ekern said.

They include employees who help prepare construction plans, serve on inspection and survey crews, and assist with right-of-way acquisition.


Board postpones hearing on Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart’s much-debated plan to build a big-box store near a famed Civil War battlefield hit a snag Monday when Orange County officials learned a hearing on the proposal was not properly advertised.

The discovery sends the retailer’s request for a special-use permit back to the Planning Commission for a second hearing. The first one in May attracted hundreds of speakers and ultimately led to planners’ approval.

As a result of the discovery, the Board of Supervisors canceled its hearing scheduled for Monday night, when a final vote was possible.

The proposal now goes back to the Planning Commission for a new hearing date, then back to supervisors, who have final say on the 138,000-square-foot supercenter planned near the Wilderness Battlefield in Locust Grove.

Both boards were to meet this week to schedule new hearing dates.


Goode won’t run for seat he lost

Former Rep. Virgil Goode won’t attempt a comeback next fall for the House seat he lost last year.

Mr. Goode, a Republican, announced Monday that he will not challenge Rep. Tom Periello, the Democrat who beat him by 727 votes out of 317,076 cast.

Mr. Goode, 61, served six terms from Virginia’s 5th District, which includes the Blue Ridge mountains and Southside Virginia.

Mr. Goode filed as a candidate for a 2010 rematch with Mr. Periello with the Federal Election Commission in March, saying he wanted to preserve his option to run.



County delays decision on church

The Frederick County Planning Commission has delayed a decision on a proposed church complex near the Montgomery County line, citing questions about the project’s size and scope.

The proposed 138,000-square-foot Global Mission Church would be built just west of Interstate 270. Critics say the complex, which includes a three-story school building and a dining hall, is not in line with efforts to maintain the region’s rural nature and agricultural lands.

The church plans to move from Silver Spring. Many of those opposed to the church live in Montgomery County, where County Executive Isiah Leggett met with the Montgomery Countryside Alliance on Thursday. A meeting with Global Mission is scheduled for Aug. 6.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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