- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2009

Prince William County Executive Craig Gerhart said Wednesday he is leaving his position to take a job with Amtrak, an announcement officials say is unrelated to a recent scandal in the county’s information technology department.

“This decision came after a lot of thought and consideration as to what is best for me and my family,” Mr. Gerhart said. “The opportunity at Amtrak allows me the chance to work with a national company in a meaningful way doing things that I really enjoy doing.”

Mr. Gerhart, 53, will work for Amtrak as an independent contractor and organizational strategist for policy and development. His duties will include serving as an adviser to the vice president of policy and development and also aiding the company in communication and strategic planning.

The news of his resignation follows the recent indictments of four men stemming from what authorities said was a scheme that involved steering contracts out of the county’s Office of Information Technology toward shell companies and pocketing the profits.

Maneesh Gupta, 45, of Woodbridge; John Roessler, 50, of Woodbridge; Vernon Roessler, 42, of Dale City and Richard Billingsley, 41, of Springfield were indicted on more than 150 total charges including bid rigging, money laundering and forgery.

Mr. Gupta worked in the information technology office, and John Roessler reportedly is a former office employee. The scheme reportedly involved contracts totaling roughly $8 million and helped the men take $4 million.

Officials said the probe of the scheme started after Mr. Gerhart requested an audit of the IT department based on a tip from a county employee to a county official.

But county spokeswoman Liz Bahrns said the bid-rigging scandal and Mr. Gerhart’s departure are “completely unrelated.”

She said the county executive, who has served in his current position since 2000, became eligible for retirement about eight months ago and began pursuing other opportunities.

“This opportunity just happened to come to fruition at the same period of time and there’s absolutely no connection at all,” she said.

Mr. Gerhart previously worked in county government as deputy county executive, assistant county executive, director of the office of management and budget, budget officer and assistant to the county executive.

He will leave county government July 3 and start his new position July 6.

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