CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The Jefferson County Commission is scheduled to meet this evening, but that likely won’t happen because there likely won’t be a quorum.
For the last two months, two commissioners—Tricia Jackson and Jennifer Krouse have refused to attend those meetings.
“The issue is a vacancy on the commission and President Stolipher’s control of the meeting agenda. Jackson and Krouse disagree with Stolipher and (Commissioner Jane) Tabb over who should fill the vacancy on the five-member commission. The two-two standoff sent the matter to the Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee to choose three possible replacements and present them to the commission,” writes MetroNews Talkline host Hoppy Kercheval in an op-ed piece this week.
“But that did not satisfy Krouse or Jackson,” Kercheval writes. “Krouse posted on her Facebook page that the committee has not provided “three actual conservatives for the Commission to review. Unfortunately, far too many of the elected ‘Republicans’ in West Virginia seem to be either incompetent, self-interested, closeted liberals, or some combination thereof.”
Krouse was a guest on Panhandle Live this week and talked about it.
She said she and Commissioner Jackson believe the law is unclear and they have sought legal advice regarding the matter. Until that is resolved, she said they do not feel comfortable moving forward with that agenda item, although she said she believes the commission meeting as a four-member body could continue work on other matters.
Still, until the candidacy issue is not on the agenda, she says she and Jackson will be sitting out.
Commission President Stolipher has said he believes he would be breaking the law if he did not put the item on the agenda. Krouse disagrees:
Jefferson County prosecutor Matt Harvey has filed a court petition to have Krouse and Jackson removed from office. According to the petition, “The respondents’ conspiratorial, willful and intentional refusal to attend meetings has deprived the Commission of a quorum and the ability carry out the lawful business of the County.”
Harvey also pointed out that “they each continue collect their salaries despite not attending to the official business to which they were elected.” That amounts to about $3,800 a month plus health insurance costs.
During an appearance on Talkline Monday, Harvey said, “They have a duty to, number one, attend meetings. Number two, you’re required to vote, and you also have a duty to (do) the business of the county.”
Krouse says she was unsuccessful getting advice from Harvey earlier this year.
This issue cannot be resolved now by Krouse and Jackson giving in and returning to the meetings.
It should be noted that Krouse, Jackson and Stolipher are all Republicans. Tabb was elected as a Republican, but she has switched to Independent.
“The standoff means the commission cannot do the public’s business. As a result, grant money is lost, critical 911 positions go unfilled, probate and estate matters go unresolved, a contract for Internet security cannot be renewed, on and on,” writes Kercheval.
Prosecutor Harvey says the county stands to lose a lot of money as the commission fails to meet.
You can hear Commission President Steve Stolipher’s interview with Hoppy Kercheval here.