WEST UNION – A three-judge panel has issued an order denying and dismissing a removal petition for Doddridge County Commissioner Greg Robinson.
The three-judge panel held an evidentiary hearing on April 18. It found that the respondent, Charles Patrick Heaster, failed to meet the burden of proof on the charges alleged. The order was filed May 23.
“Whereupon, after hearing arguments of counsel, the court after due consideration of the facts of the case, evidence presented and applicable law do find the petitioners have failed to meet their burden of proof and do likewise deny and dismiss the petitioner to remove Commissioner Robinson,” the order states.
Robinson was elected by the registered voters of Doddridge County in the November 2012 General Election to a full six-year term on the Doddridge County Commission.
Heaster claimed multiple actions on Robinson’s part constituted official misconduct warranting his removal from elected office.
The petition stated that on April 19, 2016, during a commission meeting, the commission approved with a vote 2-1, the grant of $50,000 to the Doddridge County Emergency Medical Services. Robinson voted against the grant of funds.
The county clerk executed a check for the approved amount of April 20, 2016, and the check was sent to DCEMS.
The petition alleged that Robinson went against the majority vote and directed the county clerk to stop payment on the funds.
The petition also alleged that Robinson attended meetings of the Doddridge County Ambulance Authority and used his elected position as commissioner to unlawfully interfere in the deliberations and decisions of the DCAA.
The remaining grounds in the petition alleged that Robinson engaged in or influenced the wrongful and wasteful expenditure of Commission funds; continues to engage in deficit spending and support of the DCAA; as well as he has facilitated the purchase of equipment for the DCAA without first engaging in the competitive bid process in violation of state law.
While the petitioners alone attempted to single out Robinson alone for actions of the commission, the court notes that a majority vote is required for commission action.
“As such, there is no evidence on the record to support a finding by clear and convincing evidence of official misconduct by Commissioner Robinson,” the order states. “Therefore, this claim must also be denied.”
Robinson was represented by Duane J. Ruggier II and Drannon L. Adkins of Pullin Fowler Flanagan Brown & Poe in Charleston and Clarksburg attorney Joseph Shaffer.
“We were very pleased to defeat this unwarranted removal petition as Commissioner Robinson is a good man who committed no wrongdoing,” Ruggier said.
Doddridge Circuit Court case number: 16-C-57