Winfield – A defiant Putnam County Commissioner has resigned, according to a press release.
Republican Ron Foster, who had vowed to complete his elected term to December 31, resigned effective November 1, according to the release from the county commission.
At issue were revelations by WVStatewide.com that Foster had established residence in Bedford County, Tennessee.
When this news site published its conclusion on his residence together with a quote from a Charleston election lawyer that Foster had forfeited his right to serve on the Putnam Commission, he vowed to complete his term.
That apparently changed after he spoke with officials in the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office late last week.
Coupled with that meeting, Putnam Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia filed a motion with Circuit Judge Joe Reeder to remove Foster due to his no longer being a Putnam resident.
Reeder had not acted on the petition before Foster resigned, likely making the motion moot.
The release says Foster filed his resignation with the two other Commissioners and county attorney on Friday.
It says the resignation came after the discussion with the secretary of state but does not elaborate on conclusions reached by the SOS.
Foster was clearly perturbed at Sorsaia however.
“It is interesting the Prosecuting Attorney who refuses to prosecute people for signage violations of County Ordinances and what I believe are unlawful gun sales and presents issued by County officials along with inappropriate use of County positions to acquire County property at reduced rates is now so interested in filing a motion to remove someone from office who has already resigned,” the press release quotes Foster.
He continues. “The real story here is (sic) the issues listed above and why Commissioner Foster felt unsafe in his own community because of efforts to clean up what he felt was corruption at the county level.”
He concludes, “the personal safety issue is one that prompted a move by Foster.”
The Commissioner was defeated for another term in the May primary by former Sheriff Steve Deweese.
Foster has clearly been unhappy since his loss, blaming various factors for his defeat.
The commission will now have to find a temporary replacement. The remaining commissioners will come together to make that decision, and that person will serve that unexpired term. If they cannot reach an agreement, the Republican Executive Committee will submit three candidates to choose from. The WV Code §3-10-7 can be found here.
This is still a developing story that will be updated as events warrant.