CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Two Jefferson County commissioners face 42 charges based on their refusal to attend meetings and conduct the business of the county.

The charges were filed by the State Police and under the oversight of a special prosecutor, John Ours of Grant County, late last week against Tricia Jackson and Jennifer Krouse. Jackson is a Republican candidate for state auditor.

Tricia Jackson

Jackson responded to the allegations in a social media post labeled “Trumped up charges.” She described limitations on what she could say as the charges are being litigated, but called them “politically motivated, baseless, and a frivolous waste of taxpayer money and prosecutorial resources.”

She said, “The intent of these charges may be to break my spirit, but it has had the opposite effect. I take heart in knowing that I now stand in the company of the other men and women, including President Trump, who have been arrested by their political rivals.

“I will not run from this fight, and I will never stop fighting for Jefferson County and the great state of West Virginia. To be clear, I will not resign from the county commission, and I will not drop out of the race for state auditor.”

Other candidates in the statewide Republican primary for auditor include state Senator Mark Hunt of Charleston, House Majority Leader Eric Householder of Martinsburg and former Delegate Caleb Hanna, now of Charleston. The only Democratic candidate is Mary Ann Claytor of St. Albans.

Jennifer Krouse

Jackson and Krouse have been accused of failing in their duty to perform their duties by willfully refusing to attend commission meetings, starting last September. Moreover, they repeatedly refused to meet and help select a fifth commissioner who would fill a vacancy.

Local officials contended that being unable to get a quorum resulted in real-life consequences including failure to hire and promote essential county employees, failing to approve contracts including a security contract for the county’s computer software, failure to release bonds or letters of credit, failure to approve grant applications and more.

The two finally agreed to participate in a meeting and fill the vacancy late last November after a local business filed cause and a judge ordered the commissioners to get to work.

The filing notes the two commissioners continued to accept pay for their elected positions, despite not participating in the work of the county over a period of weeks.

The allegations filed against the two commissioners include charges of failure to perform office duties, counts related to failure to fill the fifth county commission vacancy, counts related to official errors affecting citizens and resulting from the county commission’s work going undone plus conspiracy charges relating to the two commissioners’ coordinated actions.

A narrative that was part of the charging documents provides some context. The narrative took note of social media posts by Jackson and Krouse to explain their inaction.

“The reasons to deny the commission a quorum evolved, with the only consistency being they were conspiring together to deny a quorum in order to extract concessions from the Commission President, i.e. him stepping down as President and also demanding he remove the appointment of the new Commissioner from the agenda, among other reasons.

“It should be noted that one commissioner refusing to attend a commission meeting would not have denied a quorum and county business would have proceeded. It required both commissioners working together.”

Without a quorum, the filing contends, the commission could not attend to any of its statutory duties.

Above Story by WVMetronews Reporter Brad McElhinney

Below are the charging documents, verified by the West Virginia State Police to The Panhandle News Network: