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.

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  • Ron - from Morgantown

    I just think the standard for removing a duly elected official should be high . You start that " slippery slope" if you can remove an official for frivolous reasons. See - Mayor of Pratt . In Plants case it will be interesting to see the exact reason for the petition . A financial hardship isn't enough to remove Plants because it doesn't fit the definition of " infamous crime " or meet the standard relating to the conduct of Plants while performing his official duties as the Prosecutor.

    • William Glasser

      I agree.

      I became concerned over the "constitutional" angle. Prosecutors need to attack phony defenses; not invent them.

      • Amanda

        The defense was given by Plants attorney, Jim Cagle. He is a well respected lawyer and very intelligent.

        • Kan. taxpayer

          It doesn't matter if he were represented by the late Mr. Johnny.
          That so called hearing? Plea? is all for naught! It's full of mistakes and not in compliance with any rules on the book! The judge wanted to work a family situation out & that's great however; NOT going to fly for an elected prosecutor!

        • William Glasser

          So, if you are Plants, how do you get around Cagle's argument. Plants did not repudiate it.

          I am smart and respected, too; but I can see that all bruises 6 inches and less would be called constitutionally protected discipline.

  • William Glasser

    Two biggest Plants problems:

    1.Plants says didn’t intend to strike his son with the edge of the belt, which caused the U-shaped bruise...“After all, there were allegedly multiple spanks, but only one bruise.” So, the belt went wild on its own. Not his fault.

    2. Positing constitutional right to beat son with belt. AKA the Plants Defense.

    So, Plants takes no responsibility for himself and provides a defense for child belting from which I can see no way out.

    Who wants a prosecutor who makes up (nonexistent) constitutional defenses ?

    see link:

  • JM

    Or just let him stay on as prosecutor and use his salary to pay for the special one. Oh, he does not make that much........when he starts owing money....then he will quit.

    But if it is over embarrassment and that cost to the county.............then it is time to go after kent as well...........

  • William Glasser

    Carper is a republican.

    • Tony

      No he is not a Republican. Kent Carper is a Liberal Democrat.

      • William Glasser

        I see him at our republican dinners all the time.

        • Tony

          He is a politician. He is a liberal Democrat. Get your facts straight

          • The bookman


            No need to be obstinate. He is a registered Democrat. That was the discussion. Are your dinners exclusive to party? If so, you may want to start requiring a voter registration card.

          • DIASPORA

            Who cares if Carper is a Republican or Democrat. It is county level politics.

          • The bookman

            Carper was a Republican until 1999, then switched to Democrat after a disagreement with Cecil Underwood over the Airport.

          • William Glasser

            I saw him give the prayer at our last republican dinner. where you there ?

  • arp

    Country Commission wants Plants gone so they can appoint their own, Democrat replacement. Trust me, this thing has been largely political from the outset! You know that's the Charleston Gazette's angle--get a Democrat into that office.

    • Hillbilly

      I don't think the County commission can appoint a replacement.. the governor maybe?

      • Aaron

        It's a county position so why couldn't the commission fill a vacancy created by a resignation?

    • Aaron

      Why couldn't Plants and the Republican chair negotiate that the replacement be a Republican?

      • arp

        County Commission appoints if there's a vacancy. Carper and Hardy are Democrats. They're not going to replace Plants with another Republican!

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Mr. Plants you have done nothing wrong , certainly nothing that warrants a resignation . Stand tall and tell Hardy to mind his own business . I applaud Mr Plants for being an active and engaged parent and for caring about the well-being of his children . We need more parents like him . Its a full time job trying to raise children these days especially when you consider all the outside influences ( social media) vying for the attention and influence of kids these days . And here is Plants , just trying to be a good father and positive role model . And here is Hardy, just trying to draw attention for himself and boast his already inflated ego . What doesn't Hardy understand about "all charges will be dropped ? " Perhaps a better solution would be to ask Judge Bloom to rescind his decision in light of the latest ruling on Mr Plants in Magistrate Court . Then the county wouldn't have to pay the extra fees . Mr Plants could teach his children a valuable lesson about courage and conviction by standing his ground against an overbearing County Commission interested more in hyperbole than in good governess .

    • Aaron

      Had he not broke the law and admitted to it in open court, you might have a point as well. As it is, if he wants to teach his kids a lesson, other than you don't whip your kid to appease the step-kid, he would step down for breaking the law he swore to uphold and show his kids real men own up to their actions.

    • William Glasser

      Role model ?

      1. Impregnates his secretary while both are married to others

      2. Lets paramour's husband think kid is his.

      3. Gives paramour $15,000 in raises.

      4. Beats kid with belt, leaving 6 inch bruise.

      5. Violates protective order under color of phony excuse.

      6. Disingenuously posits (nonexistent) constitutional right to beat kid.

      7. Teaches kids to lie, cheat and steal.

      Nothing to see here.

      Give him a good conduct medal.

      • wv4evah

        William Glasser: your first post in this section is brilliant. Well-stated. Bravo!!

      • Ron - from Morgantown

        If Carper starts a petition to remove Plants none of the seven things you reference will be mentioned as a reason for removal . So I ask , why is the County Commission so anxious to remove Plants ? You mentioned things that don't pertain to the article - and that is the forced resignation of an elected official . I don't think $200 in bill- able hours by special prosecutors is enough to circumvent an office holder duly elected by the citizens of the county .

        • William Glasser

          I don't think he should be removed; he should resign...mainly for positing a constitutional right to child belting ... AKA the Plants defense.

          All bruises 6 inches and under would be protected discipline.

          • William Glasser

            Right. I support his resignation, not a forced removal.

            The people get the government they deserve.

            They can make corrections with elections.

            If he stays, he could donate his salary toward paying the SP.

          • Ron - from Morgantown

            So if Mr. Plants doesn't resign , you won't support the effort by the CC to remove him by petition ?

    • The bookman

      What do you not understand about the mutual agreement, the one year timeline, and the cost to the taxpayer for duplicate prosecutorial service? Yes, as Hardy explained, Plants could stay to term in his current position. Is that the best course for Kanawha County? For Plants? For his family?

  • The bookman

    It's now a matter of intestinal fortitude. Is Plants big enough to put his constituents ahead of his pride? I do have great empathy for him, as his personal life plays in the public arena. Take Hardy's advice. Resign.

  • Amanda

    Better question to ask is who set the pay for the special prosecutor?
    Shame on Dave Hardy and Carper, I will never vote for either again.

    • arp

      I agree--no more votes for Hardy or Carper! Plants was elected by the people and has a full right to remain in office! Inappropriate for them to call for his resignation.

    • Aaron

      Why, did they violate a protective order?

  • thornton

    $24K....I suggest the lucre be reimbursed by Plants as a parting gift.

    And please, MetroNews...lose that photo of Plants!
    He appears to be missing Larry and Moe....kinda sad.

  • TCeer

    Spank your child.....lose your job. Unbelievable!

    • Aaron

      I don't think it was the spanking part that is costing taxpayers $200 an hour for a special prosecutor, it was everything Mr. Plants has done since. He's responsible for his actions yet he refuses to deal with the consequences. How can anyone support that?

      • Amanda

        It's about a conflict, so yes it is about a spanking. A spanking. This is ridiculous. Hope his ex is happy now.

        • Aaron

          His ex didn't break the law.

          He did. He has no one to blame but himself.

        • William Glasser

          I heard Plants on TV say he had a constitutional right to belt his child.

          Why do you call it a spanking. He seemed to be proud of it.

    • William Glasser

      Beating with a belt is not spanking.

      Violating a domestic protection order is not spanking.

      • Ut Oh

        If the police would have found the kids in the car unattended would his ex wife been charged with neglect. Sounds like the ol boy did the right thing in making sure the kids were safe when his ex wife left them in the car. Sorry situation all around.

        • William Glasser

          The kid did not call wolf. The 6 inch bruise did the talking.

        • JM

          the right thing would have been to call the police

      • Amanda

        You're an idiot. There was no beating, and his ex spanked with a belt also. This is insane!

        • Aaron

          Did she violate a lawfully issued protective order?

          • Aaron

            We're they small children, perhaps that might be a valid argument but as they're middle school aged kids and he knew the consequences, that's hogwash. If he was concerned for their safety, he could have went to his car, waited until she came out and then left without violating the order.

            If that wasn't sufficient, he could have went inside and ask a clerk to step outside and watch his kids until law enforcement showed up.

            Instead, he broke the law that he swore to protect and uphold. How can you defend that?

          • Amanda

            She did leave her kids alone in a car, so she could shop.

        • William Glasser

          Spanking is done with an open hand.

          • Ut Oh

            When I grew up it was with a belt, paddle, open hand and when I "thought I was a big boy" I got knocked in my place. Today the kids just yell wolf and parents are charged!

  • cutty77

    Dave Hardy is last person to talk about how someone and there wife should act. You know what I mean Vern.

  • College Ave

    This all stemmed from a personal family/ex-family situation that's obviously taking a toll on private lives. For whatever reason(s), this situation wasn't dealt with privately.

    I'm not qualified to advise people on how to live or heal their private lives. However, as a taxpayer, I do think it's time for the prosecutor to consider the county's best interests and resign.

  • Hack Attack

    Does the Kanawha County Commission do anything other than make grand political statements? Is our water protected yet? How much did Hardy and other commissioners know about Freedom Industries prior to the leak that nearly poisoned 300,000 West Virginians? Maybe we should appoint a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of the commission's incompetence?

  • Rob T.

    At first I was on the side of Mark Plants! But now as the vail is pulled back and more questionable actions are being descovered, I agree that he should just walk away. I'd hate to see his ex wife win in this matter but at this point he is hurting the county.

  • Brian

    A good, solid, legitimate argument for this prosecutor stepping down.

    Control your ego, cut your losses and make a comeback down the road. Why can't you figure that out?

    Just a note to those involved- this world doesn't revolve around you.