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Week in Alexandria

Joint Investigation

The Alexandria Police Department is charging three California men with conspiracy to import marijuana into Virginia. The investigation included the police, Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The suspects are Frederick Michael Sayles, 34, of Selma, Calif., Gabriel Hernandez Sepeda II, 38, of Fresno, Calif., and David Ray Flowers, 38, of Fresno, Calif.

Sayles is a police officer with the Selma Police Department in Selma, and Sepeda is a former police officer with the Selma Police Department. The estimated street value of the marijuana is $635,000.

The trio were arrested Tuesday night in Tysons Corner and taken into custody by federal agents. Police say the men were in the process of transporting more than 27 pounds of marijuana into the commonwealth of Virginia from California. They are currently being held in the Alexandria Adult Detention Center without bond.

Hughes Won’t Participate

Ever since Alexandria has elected city officials, voting has taken place in the spring or late winter. That long tradition comes to an end this year. After the Alexandria Democratic Committee lost two seats in 2009, the lame-duck Democrats changed the election process as one of their last actions before leaving City Hall. Now elections will take place in November, when hundreds more Democratic voters will show up to support the presidential ticket or other statewide races, posing a steep challenge to any non-Democrat on the ballot.

Now, as the first-ever November election for City Council approaches, Republican City Council member Alicia Hughes says she thinks it may be too soon to participate in political debates.

“I have taken ample time to deliberate what precedent I want to set right now,” Hughes wrote to the Taylor Run Civic Association. “As you are aware, Alexandria as long held spring elections, which under regular circumstance would make the timing of this forum most appropriate. However, given that elections were moved to fall and the November slate is not yet complete, I have opted not to participate at this time.”

Debating Democrats

Speaking of City Council debates, Democrats announced this week that Sorensen Institute executive director Bob Gibson will serve as moderator for the party’s City Council primary debates on May 9 and June 4.

“Bob Gibson is one of the most respected political journalists in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Alexandria Democratic Committee chairman Dak Hardwick. “We look forward to Bob moderating a lively discussion among our candidates as they discuss their vision for Alexandria.”

Orr Out

Director of Human Resources Cheryl Orr has resigned to accept an appointment as the Prince William County director of Human Resources, leaving a position she has held since 2008. Her last day as a city employee is May 11. Assistant City Manager Tom Gates will serve as acting director until City Manager Rashad Young appoints a permanent replacement.

During her time as director, Orr led the reorganization of the Personnel Department in the Human Resources Department and developed the department’s first strategic plan. She also helped create the city’s diversity plan. Under Orr’s leadership, the department used new technology to create an online employee evaluation system. She was also responsible for the launching of a new competency-based job classification system, expanding of the city’s training program and creating a new customer-service unit.