It’s not normal when the headlines talk about what elected officials didn’t do — as in, didn’t show up for work and didn’t fulfill their responsibilities. Commissioners Jennifer Krouse and Tricia Jackson have been making claims about abuse of power, backroom deals, and self interest. But what they are doing seems likely to disrupt the normal operations of the County.
Both Jackson and Krouse refused to attend the regular Commission meeting on September 21 (see related story for details). Both posted to social media during the meeting (images below), cloaking their actions as some noble cause. Sadly, their claims seem no more full of truth than the wheelbarrow pictured above.
Looking back at the first Commission meeting of 2023 (see the February issue of The Observer), the vote to appoint Steve Stolipher as Commission President was 3-2, with Jackson and Krouse on the “nay” side. With one of the seats on the commission remaining empty (going on 3 months now), in part due to the actions of Jackson and Krouse, it’s easy to conclude that their most recent coordination to block a quorum is more about politics than a plea for better governance.
The political provocateur Steve Bannon, recently convicted of contempt of Congress, coined the phrase “flooding the zone with s**t” to describe the tactic of manipulating the political discussion to sow confusion with the goal of creating chaos and breaking the system. It’s wearisome enough to see that mode of discourse overtake our national politics, but to see it disrupt the normal operations of our county government should give us all pause.
Update (Sep 28 2023, 5:00 pm): Both Commissioners Jackson and Krouse have posted additional statements to social media threatening to be absent for a special meeting scheduled for the evening of September 28. The West Virginia code governing the operation of county commissions explicitly states that the President of the Commission, with the concurrence of one additional commissioner, can call a special meeting. Jackson and Krouse are claiming an alternative interpretation that does not seem firmly grounded in state law.
At the very least, any claim that the relevant section of the state code should be read other than as written is a question that should be referred to the legislature for clarification or to the judicial system for formal review, rather than apply ad hoc interpretations convenient to the political agenda of individual commissioners.By Steve Pearson