The Jefferson County Commission met last Thursday afternoon.
Normally, the mere fact of having a meeting would not be newsworthy. However, it was in this instance because just having a quorum finally ended a stubborn and ill-conceived protest by Republican Commissioners Tricia Jackson and Jennifer Krouse.
It is not as though Jackson and Krouse wanted to be at the meeting. If they had their way, the two would have refused to attend, just as they had been doing since early September. The delinquent duo refused to participate in their legal requirement to fill a vacancy for the fifth commissioner’s seat because they objected to the selection process.
Krouse posted on social media that none of the three candidates nominated by the Jefferson County Republican executive committee was conservative enough. But Jackson and Krouse were under orders from Circuit Judge Bridget Cohee to attend and break the logjam.
At a hearing earlier in the day, Judge Cohee concluded that the two had “deliberately and knowingly refused to exercise a clear legal duty to attend and conduct meetings of the Jefferson County Commission.”
Jackson was not happy about the judge’s ruling. “I just want to make note because I’ve been ordered to show up and take action on this item (filling the vacancy),” she said during the commission meeting. “I don’t think this is procedurally clear on how to move forward and do this.”
What’s not clear? You are a county commissioner and attending meetings is part of the job. Additionally, as the Secretary of State’s Office stated clearly early on in this mess, commissioners have a responsibility to meet and fill a vacancy. Commissioners cannot just refuse to show up and do their duty because they think the candidates are RINOs.
Our Brad McElhinny reports the commission filled the vacancy with Pasha Majdi, a Harpers Ferry resident who describes himself as a “freedom-loving conservative conservationist.”
The court order for Jackson and Krouse to show up—or presumably face the consequences of jail or a fine for contempt of court—came after Jefferson County businessman David Lutman filed a Writ of Mandamus to get the court to force the commissioners to attend meetings.
County business had ground to a halt. Grants expired or were lost, county government vacancies including critical 9-1-1 positions went unfilled, and in Lutman’s case, the county could not release a bond he has posted on a major housing development which endangered his bank financing.
“My intent was to get the county to operate business as usual,” Lutman said on Talkline Friday.
The judge’s order forcing Jackson and Krouse to show up for meetings presumably negates the actions by Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Harvey to have the petulant pair removed from office for not doing their jobs.
Voters can take care of that themselves in the next election.