CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission agreed to prosecuting attorney Mark Plants’ offer to offset the costs of the special prosecutor hired to handle domestic cases from which Plants’ office is barred.
Plants attended Thursday night’s commission meeting, encouraging that any “tar and feathering” be done as quickly as possible. While Commissioner Dave Hardy said that he didn’t think the commission was interested in tar and feathering, President Kent Carper said that it “didn’t take long these days.” But the meeting was largely without fireworks one might have suspected given the developments of the last few weeks.
A special prosecutor is handling domestic violence cases while Plants faces two misdemeanor domestic charges. The lead special prosecutor is being paid $200 an hour. The commission already approved a payment of approximately $30,000 and fear the bill could rise to $300,000 in a year.
Claiming he wants to offset the damage done to taxpayers, Plants presented to help pay more than $100,000 for the special prosecutor, with most of the money coming from the Drug Forfeiture Fund and from savings within Plants’ personal budget.
Plants said he offered to take $75,000 from the Drug Forfeiture Fund, leaving a small amount in the account for “miscellaneous” items.
“I just want to do as much as I comfortably could,” Plants said.
Deciding that the rest of the money would be free to take later, if needed. The county commission agreed to take $50,000 from that account.
Concerning the $25,000 offered from his general account, Plants said he is willing to work with the commission to go through all line items other than salary. Carper said the commission would be glad to work with him on that, just not at this particular meeting.
Also discussed was a member of the prosecutor’s staff asking assistant prosecutors to take a pay cut. Plants said that action was unauthorized.
“I felt humbled by the support from my employees. I think it says a lot about my employees and what they think about their boss. With that said, it’s completely inappropriate,” Plants said.