PRINCESS ANNE — Princess Anne Commissioner Lionel Frederick — unrepentant in his claims of election fraud and governmental mismanagement — was for the second time in his political career officially censured for violating the town’s Code of Conduct.
By majority vote the commissioners “admonish Commissioner Frederick that continued harassment of Town staff will not be condoned as acceptable behavior.”
Mr. Frederick “has falsely accused Town staff of rigging elections, misappropriating Town funds, not working a full week and threatened to fire employees without cause.”
He has also “disrupted normal Town functions, wasted time and Town resources” and failed to attend a special closed meeting (held at a time to accommodate his schedule) to discuss these matters.
Making the motion to censure during the January legislative session was Commissioner Marshall Corbin with a second by Vice President Orlondo Taylor and they were joined by President Joey Gardner. Commissioner Shelley Johnson was absent but was watching the meeting on Zoom.
Mr. Frederick, who arrived over a half-hour late, did not take it quietly and unsuccessfully motioned that the censure be rescinded, saying he received information about allegations when he was board president about sexual misconduct in the town office and that he had an obligation to investigate. He also said he wanted a meeting of the commissioners to follow-up on his complaint about the 2022 election which had him run against a town police officer as well as to investigate allegations of cheating.
Mr. Gardner tried to end Mr. Frederick’s remarks by banging the gavel several times and telling Commissioner Frederick to “please come to order.” Mr. Gardner then moved on to the next agenda item.
At the end of the meeting during Commissioner Comments Mr. Frederick wished everyone a prosperous new year saying 2022 “was a very tough year for all of us,” lamenting the close of the Washington Inn & Tavern on Dec. 31 with hope that it will reopen this year.
After about two minutes, however, Mr. Frederick went back to complain about the election, and how he raised concerns locally and to the state election board, but adding he was “thankful” that voters returned him for a third term (his first representing District 2, previously he was at-large).
Without being specific he said “an inexperienced council” has other “serious issues that have to be dealt with” regarding town finances “that need to be solved,” alluding to fiscal year audits of which FY22’s financial statements are now under review.
He urged residents to come out for the next town election in 2024, and come to town meetings, so they will be informed.
When he started back in about the “inexperienced council” he was gaveled down by the president and thanked for his comments.
Afterward the meeting adjourned into closed session.
Commissioners approved adoption of a Code of Conduct in September 2015 and it describes how commissioners should treat each other, staff, constituents and the public. At the November 2022 work session for example, Mr. Frederick got into an argument with Town Manager Clayton Anderson over how job vacancies were being addressed with allegations of favoritism but Mr. Frederick left the meeting before it ended and it adjourned with the commissioners going into closed session at Mr. Anderson’s request.
In July 2018 Mr. Frederick was officially reprimanded “for repeated violations of the Code of Conduct” and asked to “refrain from such words and actions” directed to the public and town employees.
Both resolutions did not specify any sanctions to be taken against Mr. Frederick, but a commissioner in these circumstances can be expelled if he or she becomes disorderly, or the chair may call for a motion to close the meeting and reconvene at a later date and time.
“Serious infractions of the Code of Conduct could lead to other sanctions as deemed appropriate by the Commissioners,” according to §29-3.