Jefferson County officials squabble over legal representation

October 10, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The Jefferson County Commission, Jefferson County Planning Commission and others engaged Thursday in a nearly 1 1/2-hour debate that turned heated at times over the planning commission's legal representation.

Planning Commission member Bob Reynolds told the county commission that the planning commission does not have confidence in the legal representation it gets from the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney's office and believes there are conflict-of-interest issues.

The issue stems partly from a controversial proposal to build 152 homes on 122 acres where the 1862 Civil War Battle of Shepherdstown was fought along Trough Road south of Shepherdstown.

The planning commission was ordered to issue a permit for the development, although a private organization is trying to file an appeal over the project.


The commission eventually allowed the planning commission to hire an outside attorney to represent it on issues stemming from the so-called Far Away Farm project along Trough Road, but not before a long debate.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson showed up at the meeting represented by Martinsburg. W.Va., attorney Clarence E. "CEM" Martin.

Commissioner Jim Surkamp asked Martin if he was being paid out of county or private funds.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan was angered over not being able to speak to Thompson directly.

"I want to talk to Mr. Thompson," Morgan said. "This is ridiculous."

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