Commissioner Of The Revenue responds to group calling for her recall

Published: Sep. 13, 2016 at 8:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

UPDATE: 9/14/16 6:06 p.m.

Over the phone, Karen Rose, the Commissioner Of The Revenue told our Janson Silvers that she "has not seen the petition.

She also is "not aware of any facts that would meet the statutory requirements" for her to be recalled, and there is "no basis" for her to be recalled.


A group in Harrisonburg has started a petition to recall a city official.

At Tuesday night's city council meeting, Stan Maclin made the announcement. He is with the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center. He announced the center and a group called ARMED have begun a petition. ARMED stands for Americans Resisting Minority and Ethnic Discrimination.

The petition calls for the ousting and recall of Harrisonburg Commissioner of the Revenue, Karen Rose. The group behind the petition is upset over an incident that took place earlier in the year.

Through a Freedom Of Information Act request, Nexus, which advertises with WHSV, obtained emails from Augusta County leaders. One of the 8,000 emails was from a Harrisonburg part-time employee, Gene Ray Ergenbright, who sent an email from his Harrisonburg city email account to someone in Augusta County. Ergenbright worked for Rose part time when this took place.

Tuesday night, Maclin told city leaders, "there is an unexpected rise of racism that is starting to happen in the community." He added the email issue is an example of this.

In June, however, Rose said she investigated the use of an alleged Hitler emoji. Nexus Programs Incorporated accused Gene Ergenbright of taking the image from a white supremacist website. Rose said Ergenbright instead got it from a "simple Google search for 'smiley face" and that "no discriminatory, harassing or inflammatory emojis were directed at, related to or referred to any taxpayer."

She added, "I'm coordinating with the City of Harrisonburg and legal counsel to clarify internet and email usage policies, and to conduct training for my employees on policy and best practices with respect to official email and internet use."

Despite the actions that were taken within the office, Maclin maintained Tuesday night that the issue of racism continues to fester in the community. He said, "this petition drive is being launched to make a statement that we're doing everything we can to make sure, by working together, we can be a city where we don't allow incidents to become past feeling."

He concluded saying, "even though we're professionally integrated, socially, we're still segregated, and we've got to work at that."

Read more about the emoji incident in the related links section of this article.