The Prince William County Human Rights Commission has taken it upon themselves to review the resolution adopted by the Board of County Supervisors on July 10 at the behest of several fringe organizations and has been conducting unlawful hearings. Help Save Manassas testified before the Human Rights Commission on August 1st and alterted them to our concerns, which they summarily dismissed. The following day Help Save Manassas called on County Executive Craig Gerhart to halt these hearings, and issued a press release.

Complaint To The County Executive

HELP SAVE MANASSAS
PO BOX 4191
MANASSAS, VA 20108

VIA ELECTRONIC DELIVERY

Mr. Craig Gerhart
1 County Court Complex
Prince William, Virginia, 22192

August 2nd, 2007

Dear Mr. Gerhart:

As you may be aware, the Prince William County Human Rights Commission has commenced hearings to review Resolution Number 07-609 adopted unanimously be the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on July 10th. We believe the Human Rights Commission lacks the statutory authority to hold these hearings and ask you to direct the Human Rights Commission to suspend these hearings until such time that they have a legitimate basis to be held, can receive proper public notice, and are for the purpose of furthering a legitimate power and purpose of the Human Rights Commission.

Last evening I had the opportunity to testify before the commission, and requested that they disclose the stated purpose of these hearings and their authority to conduct them. Their response to me was that these hearings are being held at your request in order to determine what public benefits the Human Rights Commission provides which may be restricted to legal residents and citizens pursuant to paragraph D of the resolution. Seeing that the Human Rights Commission provides no statutory public benefits to anyone, and the testimony elicited thus far has not at all been responsive to that stated purpose, it would appear that the Commission does not have a valid legal purpose or authority for conducting these hearings.

If alternatively it is the opinion of the County Executive that these hearings are being properly held, we would appreciate your providing citations from the County Code which would explain the following inconsistencies that we have observed:

  1. Although these proceedings are not characterized by the Human Rights Commission as hearings, selected organizations have been solicited and scheduled to present testimony before the Immigration Committee of the Human Rights Commission. The public at large is not permitted to speak before this committee. In effect, these proceedings are public hearings subject to the provisions of Prince William County Code Section 10.1-10.
  2. No public notice has been issued prior to the commencement of these hearings.
  3. These hearings have not been initiated as a result of a claim of unlawful discrimination as required under Prince William County Code Section 10.1-10.
  4. The Human Rights Commission lacks the statutory authority to review legislative action by the Board of County Supervisors, or the power to support or oppose current law in any fashion.
  5. The Human Rights Commission cannot cogently state the purpose for these hearings, claiming that these hearings are for the purpose of determining which statutory public benefits the Human Rights Commission may restrict or provide to illegal aliens when the commission provides no such benefits to anyone. The expenditure of public funds in support of hearings that are clearly unnecessary is a violation of county fiscal policy.
  6. The Human Rights Commission does not have the statutory authority to protect the interests of illegal aliens since these are not a protected class under Prince William County Code Section 10.1-4 or Virginia Code Section 2.2-2634, or any federal law.
  7. These hearings are inconsistent with the Statement of Policy in Virginia Code Section 10.1-1, which defines the purpose of the commission as addressing unlawful discrimination that has actually occurred, rather than what unlawful discrimination the commission believes may possibly occur.
  8. The testimony solicited by the commission is irrelevant to the enumerated functions of “eliminat[ing] unlawful discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment, education and credit facilities in Prince William County.” as defined in Prince William County Code Section 10.1-7(a).
  9. Decisions by the commission, as regulated under Prince William County Code Section 10.1-11, require that there be a respondent to a complaint. The Human Rights Commission has decided that it would not permit members of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to address the Immigration Committee which is conducting these hearings, and are effectively the respondents in this case.

We look forward to your prompt attention to this matter. Should Help Save Manassas not receive a response within fourteen (14) calendar days of this complaint, it is our intention to initiate legal action to compel the Human Rights Commission and Prince William County to halt these unlawful proceedings.

Very Truly Yours,

Gregory Letiecq
President
Help Save Manassas

cc: Corey Stewart
Phyllis Aggrey



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