Still no decision about petition to remove three Bath County BOS members

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Bath County (WSLS 10) – Three Bath County Board of Supervisors members will remain on the job as a judge decides the fate of a petition to remove them.

Bath County Circuit Court Judge John Wetsel is still deciding whether a petition to remove Claire Collins, Richard Byrd and Stuart Hall should move forward.

The case comes after supervisors voted to eliminate the tourism director position at a board of supervisors meeting in the Fall of 2016. The move upset residents who started a petition calling for the removal of the three and accused them of violating Virginia code.

Wetsel heard arguments from both sides on Tuesday as much of the discussions in court centered around the wording of a petition residents signed to remove the three from office.

James Cornwell, the lawyer for the three, made a number of technical arguments on why the petition to remove them should not go forward.

Cornwell says the document was “procedurally flawed”.

“They accuse the board of supervisors of doing that which they didn’t do and that is discussing something in closed session,” said Cornwell.

Alleghany County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ed Stein, who is representing the petitioners, said the allegations are serious and deserve their day in court. He believes the case should proceed.

“The petitioners feel that the actions of the board of supervisors were not proper and that change needs to come to Bath County,” said Stein.

The three supervisors in question say they were doing what they believed to be best for the county by getting rid of the director of tourism position.

“Anything I do in politics is for the betterment of the county”, said Byrd.

“If the majority of people in the district in which I represent wanted me out of office. I would step down,” said Claire Collins, Bath County BOS member. “I haven’t heard that from the majority of people in the district I represent.”

Residents remain divided over whether the three elected officials should remain or be removed.

In the end, it will be up to Wetsel to decide if the case moves forward.  He said he plans to make a decision on the matter in the next seven days.

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