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King George resident learns he doesn't qualify for rebate after installing energy-saving devices because of the action of one county supervisor
Dennis Askin did not get a $500 rebate for energy-saving changes to his family's home because Supervisor Joe Grzeika kept King George out of the grant program.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By CATHY DYSON
Dennis Askin couldn't understand why the King George Board of Supervisors would deny residents the chance to get rebates for devices that were environmentally friendly and saved energy.
He started looking into the matter, making phone calls and reading meeting minutes. He discovered it wasn't the decision of the entire board, but of one supervisor, Joe Grzeika.
Grzeika is the county's representative on a regional agency that was handling an energy-saving program, and he decided King George would not participate. He said the King George Board of Supervisors objected to stimulus funding--even though the board has accepted millions in stimulus money for other purposes.
"I was mad," said Askin, who spent 24 years in the Navy in Explosive Ordnance Disposal. "Bottom line, it was money that was supposed to go to our county."
Grzeika's action affected Askin and other higher-income residents eligible for rebates, as well as low-income homeowners who could have gotten energy improvements at no cost.
Other residents and board members say this isn't the only time Grzeika has made what fellow King George Supervisor Ruby Brabo calls "unilateral decisions." They say Grzeika, who has been on the King George board since 1995, has taken similar action without first consulting board members on matters as big as preserving the Navy base at Dahlgren.
Grzeika did not reply to four email and phone requests for comment from The Free Lance-Star.
Fellow supervisor John LoBuglio said Grzeika lives by a "double-standard" in how he acts as a supervisor compared to how he believes others should perform. LoBuglio said he's heard complaints about him from residents across the county.
"They feel like he's just trying to live the same role he always had before, in running everything the way he wants," LoBuglio said. "And it's sort of so contradictory to what he himself is always saying--that individual members don't have the power themselves, that it's only the full board together that has the power to make decisions."
Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr. also said he'd heard about issues "through the rumor mill." He said he didn't want to point fingers without knowing all the details.
"But if he made a decision on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and did not tell us about it, that was wrong," Brooks said.
Supervisor Dale Sisson Jr. could not be reached for comment.