Two West Virginia County Commissioners Fired after being Caught Skipping Public Meetings

Two West Virginia County Commissioners Fired after being Caught Skipping Public Meetings

Charleston, WV: On Wednesday, a panel of three judges in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle said that two county commissioners should be fired for purposely skipping public meetings, more than a month after they were arrested for doing something wrong.

In a written decision, Circuit Court Judges Joseph K. Reeder of Putnam County, Jason A. Wharton of Wirt and Wood Counties, and Perri Jo DeChristopher of Monongalia County said that Jennifer Krouse and Tricia Jackson, two Jefferson County Commissioners, “decidedly and willfully refused to do their jobs.”

We arrested Krouse and Jackson, who is also a Republican running for state auditor, in March and put them on trial in Jefferson County Magistrate Court on 42 petty charges that ranged from failing to do their jobs to planning to break the law against the state. The Jefferson County prosecutor’s office asked for the demotion of the two women in November, and the three-judge panel heard the case in late March.

When The Associated Press sent emails to Krouse and Jackson asking for comment, neither of them replied.

She said in a public Facebook post that she is working with a lawyer to fight the decision and that she is still running for state auditor.

The problem starts with the seven meetings Krouse and Jackson missed in late 2023. In court documents linked to the criminal case, State Police said they did this to protest the candidates chosen to replace a commissioner who quit. Among other things, they said the candidates weren’t “actual conservatives,” which is what a criminal charge says.

The complaint said that Krouse and Jackson’s absences from September 21, 2023, to November 16, 2023, kept the commission from doing its regular work. It meant that the commission couldn’t fill 911 dispatch positions, approve a $150,000 grant for victim advocates in the prosecuting attorney’s office, or give $50,000 for courthouse renovations.

Because the commission has to accept costs over $5,000, the county didn’t get the grant to fix up the courthouse.

Even though Jackson and Krouse missed meetings, they still got their perks and paychecks. A judge in Jefferson County ordered them to come back, and they did.

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