CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy hasn’t changed his stance on the future of Prosecutor Mark Plants.
“There’s no question in my mind that Mr. Plants should step down or resign,” Hardy said Friday.
The commission met with Plants Thursday night for a second time to discuss the ever-increasing bills to pay for two special prosecutors to handle cases connected to Plant’s domestic battery charge and violating a domestic protective order from earlier this year.
So far the county has shelled out more than $60,000. Hardy said that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this week, Plants entered into an agreement to participate in an 8-month Putnam County community corrections program that would result in the charges against him being dismissed, if he completes the program.
Hardy said while that may be a good solution for Plants, it’s a costly one for the county.
“When he entered into the 8-month pre-trial diversion, that’s a quarter of a million dollar piece of paper for the tax payers because we are spending about $30,000 a month on special prosecutor fees,” explained Hardy.
Plants made an attempt to convince the commission he’s off-set some of those fees by cost-saving measures he’s put into place for his office over the past five years. Hardy wasn’t convinced.
“He brought us some information on dollars that have been saved during his time as prosecutor. I respect that a lot,” said Hardy. “He has done a decent, good job as prosecutor. However, the situation that we find ourselves in now has nothing to do with his duties as a prosecutor. It has to do with his personal conduct.”
Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia has denied Plants entry into the community corrections program. That could complicate an already complicated situation. Hardy said the only way for the county to get out from under the debt is for Plants to do the right thing and resign.
“His personal conduct has left the taxpayers holding a bill for a pretty penny!”
Plants did not make any references at the meeting of his willingness to step down.