school.pngWhat follows is an email that I received Wednesday evening from Dottie Miller, Chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee. This is a call to action she broadcasted to all committee members.

Committee Members,

I am writing to inform you about yet another controversy regarding our School Board.

On June 15, 2016, Brentsville District School Board member Gil Trenum, a Navy reservist, announced that he has been called up to active duty to serve overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom for one-year beginning in August. Trenum has served his country as a United States Navy officer for nearly 12 years and has continued to serve as a Navy Reserve Commander for 14 years. In all, this is his 26th year of service to our military. Virginia’s Division of Legislative Services has advised Trenum, a Republican, that he can hold his School Board seat and choose a temporary replacement while deployed. However, School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, a Democrat, is seeking to ignore Trenum’s wishes and appoint someone else. Trenum has provided three candidates to temporarily fill his seat while he’s deployed, however, Sawyers wants to appoint Don Shaw, the current Vice Chairman of the Prince William Democrat Committee and former candidate for office. Sawyers is currently seeking a legal opinion on the matter from Attorney General Mark Herring. Democrats already hold a 5-3 advantage on the School Board, yet Sawyers wants to create a larger majority to implement his agenda.

Here is a recent Washington Post story about this matter: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/pr-william-school-board-seat-up-in-the-air-ahead-of-reservists-deployment/2016/07/01/40f32440-3fb3-11e6-84e8-1580c7db5275_story.html

Chairman Sawyers’ objection to Mr. Trenum’s wishes are particularly disappointing for several reasons:

1) By not honoring the wishes of Gil Trenum during his deployment, Chairman Sawyers is disrespecting veterans and military reservists and using a reservist deployment for personal political gain.

2) Sawyers’ partisan behavior will only discourage reservists from seeking public office in Prince William County in the future.

3) Chairman Sawyers is openly disrespecting the will of the Brentsville voters by attempting to appoint someone who doesn’t share Trenum’s policy positions or philosophy. Brentsville voters have elected Trenum as their School Board Representative three terms.

Since Ryan Sawyers was sworn-in as chairman of the Prince William County School Board on December 11, 2015, he has engaged in controversy after controversy. Whether it be school-naming fights, teacher intimidation, or retaliation of a H.S. principal, Chairman Sawyers has been more bully than consensus builder. Please make your voice heard on this latest controversy.

Action Items:

-Make your voice heard by calling/emailing the School Board Chairman and your District Representative about this matter. Find their contact info here: http://pwcs.ss9.sharpschool.com/cms/one.aspx?pageId=690983

-Share this information with our neighborhood and friends via conversations and social media.

Dottie Miller, Chairman

D.J. Jordan, Vice Chairman

Prince William County Republican Committee

If we want our leaders to behave honorably, the we have to hold them accountable. Is Brentsville District School Board member Gil Trenum’s request honorable? Would it be honorable for School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers to ignore it? Please consider the matter and then contact your District Representative.



  1. novascout

    I live in the next county over, so my observations are ones of process, and admittedly are offered without knowledge of the individuals (although I don’t think that should make a difference as far as process is concerned).

    I’m surprised that this is a political issue or that the County Republicans (or Dems, if they’ve done so) feel a need to weigh in on this. It hardly seems a political issue. (Given Tom’s disdain for public education, I’m a bit surprised at the post, also). But where an elected body has vacancies and no express rule governing how they are filled (as apparently is the case here), the obvious options would seem either resignation of the vacating member or merely holding the vacancy open until the next election, if no special election is provided for. The worst options would seem to be that either the vacating member appoints his or her own replacement or that one other member (in this case Mr. Sawyers) gets to make that decision.

    Our national bodies all have provisions for addressing vacancies, I think, but it is easy to understand why none of them have a provision that a departing member gets to appoint his successor or replacement.



    1. @novascout

      Given Tom’s disdain for public education, I’m a bit surprised at the post, also

      I don’t have much use for public education, but it is bad enough as it is. Why would I want it to get worse?

      To cover up their incompetence, Communists invented “wreckers”. To cover up their incompetence, Democrats blame their lack of power.

      Anyway, you can provide the Democrat commentary on this too.


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  3. novascout

    One of my questions was why this is a D/R issue. However, I think you are wrong to describe Rich Anderson as providing “Democrat commentary.” I have not known him to make a practice of that.



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