CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy says embattled Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants should resign immediately.
“I think it would be in the best interests of Mr. Plants and the taxpayers of our county if he would resign from office,” Hardy told MetroNews Tuesday afternoon.
Hardy called for the move during Tuesday evening’s meeting just before the commission agreed to pay the first bill for a special prosecutor appointed because of the controversy involving Plants.
Commissioner Hardy said he reviewed the $24,000 bill over the weekend and reached his conclusion that the elected prosecutor should step down.
“I don’t say that lightly and I don’t say that out of disrespect but this has been an ongoing distraction to our office and to the county’s ability to get its work done and I don’t see it ending quickly and don’t see it ending very well,” Hardy said.
Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom appointed four special prosecutors to handle domestic violence cases from the City of Charleston after Plants himself was charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly violating a domestic protective order filed by his ex-wife and battery after disciplining his son with a belt that left a bruise.
A pretrial diversion agreement reached last week keeps the charges in place for a year after Plants agreed to do certain things. If he does, the charges would be dropped. That agreement has since come into question by the special prosecutor handling the Plants case.
Commissioner Hardy said the situation is a mess and while the charges are still pending the special prosecutor on domestic violence cases will keep making $200-an-hour. He said everyone makes mistakes but this one is costly.
“Every time that we write a check for 24-thousand dollars for a special prosecutor that we have to pay as a result of the problem–that’s a police car that we didn’t buy. I don’t think it’s in the public’s best interest that we keep writing those checks,” Hardy said.
Commission President Kent Carper said Tuesday evening he would start the petition process to remove Plants next week if the state Supreme Court doesn’t make a move.
Plants hasn’t expressed any interest in resigning his elected position.
“He was elected by the people and I suspect that if he wants to stay in the office for a while longer or even to the end of his term he may be able to,” Commissioner Hardy said. “I only speak as a person in charge of the county’s budget and have to balance all the needs. It’s painful. It’s unfortunate but I felt like as a public official and the county asked me to manage the county’s budget—in my judgment this needs to end.”
MetroNews put out a call to Prosecutor Plants and is still awaiting comment.