Last night I made the following comments in a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board:
First, let me thank you all for your good work – I do appreciate your service.
My name is Jim Barnes. From 1989 through 2010, I served as the public information officer for the Loudoun County government. In fact, I was the county’s first public information officer.
After leaving that job, I worked as a journalist covering local news across Northern Virginia for about a decade.
As you might imagine, I have sat through hundreds of public meetings, but I have never gotten up to speak as a private citizen – until now.
For many of the years I was working for the county, Wayde Byard was my counterpart for Loudoun County Public Schools. So I can appreciate what a hard job he has, and how good he’s been at it.
And when I was working as a journalist, covering Loudoun schools, he was always honest and straightforward with me, and helped steer me in the right direction.
I have always found Mr. Byard to be a hard-working public servant and a person of integrity.
Now he is facing a serious charge, and I understand that he has been placed on leave without pay. I don’t know the facts behind the charge, or even what he is alleged to have said that led to his indictment.
I trust that those facts will become known in his trial. But that won’t take place until June 20.
Six months is a long time to go without a paycheck. Six months! Please consider how that would affect your household budget. And he may not have even done anything wrong. He deserves the presumption of innocence.
It seems only fair that Mr. Byard’s pay be restored until he has his day in court. I respectfully ask that you consider doing so.
Again, thank you!