Mingo County round up

Debbie Rolen Staff Writer

August 21, 2013

WILLIAMSON — The Mingo County Commission quickly moved through their agenda Wednesday, rearranging it to take care of some personnel issues first. The commission addressed matters involving Commissioner David Baisden, Emergency Services and Homeland Security Director Jarrod Fletcher and Mingo County Sheriff Rosie Crum.

The commission received a letter from Commissioner David Baisden, in which he relinquished his duties as purchasing agent.

Baisden, who is facing federal charges of extortion, was in Charleston for his arraignment. Baisden told U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley he is not guilty. His trial is set to begin at 9:30 a.m., Oct. 21, in front of U. S. District Judge John Copenhaver.

Baisden plans to retain his seat on the commission. Since Baisden is not a judicial officer, the decision on whether or not to resign as commissioner, at this point, is his.

Commission President J. Mark Hubbard and Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith voted to accept Baisden’s resignation as purchasing agent and went on to set new procedures in place for purchasing.

Tina Abbott, Administrative Assistant for the commission, will serve as purchasing agent. If a purchase is over $500, both Abbott and one of the commissioners will have to sign the purchase order.

Smith expressed his support for the new procedures, “I support Commissioner Baisden’s decision to resign, I believe with the accusations that have been made it is in the best interest of Mingo County. By appointing Ms. Abbott and putting in specific safeguards in place, we have improved the way the county commission purchases items.”

The commission also received a letter from Sheriff Rosie Crum, resigning from her position effective Sept. 4. Crum is the widow of the late Sheriff Eugene Crum who was murdered April 3, 2013, as he was eating his lunch in a parking lot in downtown Williamson. Tennis Maynard, 37, is charged with his murder and also faces an Oct. 21 trial date. Crum was appointed sheriff during an emotional commission meeting the day after her husband was killed and her letter said she was submitting the resignation with “mixed emotions.”

“Since my appointment in April of this year, assuming the duties and responsibilities of my late husband has proved to be quite the undertaking,” she wrote. “The sheriff’s office needs a qualified person who can dedicate the time and attention it deserves to ensure public safety and confidence.”

In her letter to the commission, Crum recommended former City of Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel to take the position. Rockel currently serves as Chief Field Deputy for the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department. Crum praised Rockel’s performance, especially his reconstructing the sheriff’s office to operate more efficiently and better scheduling of the office’s man power and resources.

“Rockel has displayed a sense of pride in his job and many qualities shared by my husband. Rockel, like my husband, is a visionary. He is honest and really has this county’s best interest at heart.”

Rockel told the Williamson Daily News he hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll apply.

The commission will be accepting resumes for the position until Sept. 4. A new sheriff will be named at the Sept. 18, 2013, commission meeting.

Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury, 57, entered an “absolutely not guilty” plea to U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley, who allowed both Thornsbury and Baisden to remain free on the $10,000 unsecured bonds set last week. Thornsbury is charged with two counts of conspiracy against rights for targeting the husband of his assistant, with whom he had an affair in 2008.

Thornsbury is alleged to have used Jarrod Fletcher in his schemes to harm the woman’s husband. Fletcher was suspended indefinitely, without pay. Fletcher has turned in his vehicle and all other county-owned equipment issued to him.

The commission will be conducting an investigation and will make a determination whether the suspension will lead to termination or reinstatement. In the meantime, the commission named Lorraine Vance, a long-time 911 employee, to head up emergency services and Doug Goolsby will take over the Department of Homeland Security duties.