Mingo County Commission appoints new prosecutor a - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Mingo County Commission appoints new prosecutor and commissioner

Posted: Updated:
The Mingo Co. Commission appointed Teresa Maynard as temporary prosecutor. The Mingo Co. Commission appointed Teresa Maynard as temporary prosecutor.
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WILLIAMSON, WV -

UPDATE:

The Mingo County Commission appointed a new prosecuting attorney and county commissioner during a meeting Wednesday.

Commissioners chose Mike Carter for county commissioner and Teresa Maynard for prosecuting attorney.

In October, commissioners appointed Maynard to be temporary prosecuting attorney for 30 days. She replaced former prosecutor Michael Sparks, who resigned amidst a federal investigation. Federal prosecutors accused Sparks of depriving a man of his constitutional rights. Sparks is expected to plead guilty to that charge later this month.

Formerly, Maynard served as the office's only assistant prosecuting attorney under Michael Sparks. She focused on abuse and juvenile cases.

"I think I am the best candidate for the job at this time," Maynard said. "And I think I've proved myself in the last 30 days."

Commissioners have said there is no pending legal action involving Maynard.

Besides Maynard, three assistant prosecuting attorneys work in the office.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel confirmed there are open disciplinary complaints against Chandler and another prosecuting attorney, Wesley White. Former assistant prosecuting attorney Matthew Chandler resigned the same day Maynard nabbed the temporary gig.

Commissioner 'Hootie' Smith practices law with Chandler. Smith said Chandler resigned to avoid "the appearance of impropriety."

Maynard said she's aware of White's complaint but believes the situation stems from an unrelated situation.

Carter is a retired coal miner who sat on the Mingo County Board of Education for several years. He was one of 14 candidates who applied for the post.

Carter replaces former commissioner Dave Baisden, who pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge in October. Federal prosecutors also named Baisden in a separate corruption case.

"One of the things about Mike [Carter] is his character and his integrity," Smith said. "I believe Mike Carter is not someone who is perceived as a political person."

According to Smith, Carter hopes to prioritize job creation in an area ransacked by coal layoffs. Due to a prior engagement, Carter was sworn in after the commission meeting.

_____

ORIGINAL:

The Mingo County Commission called an emergency meeting Thursday to appoint a temporary prosecuting attorney.

Commission President John Hubbard and Commissioner Hootie Smith chose Teresa Maynard to fill in for the next 30 days.

Maynard, of Lenore, WV, has previously worked as assistant prosecuting attorney since 2008. She joined the Mingo County Prosecutor's Office in 2005.

Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks submitted his resignation Wednesday after Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Ruby filed information in federal court.

(Mingo Co. Prosecutor Michael Sparks charged in information filed in federal court)

Through the information, federal prosecutors charged Sparks with depriving a man of his constitutional rights.

Sparks' resignation is effective 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Maynard admitted she was entering an office with a tainted reputation.

"I think the reputation of our office has been damaged, but we have a good solid work force in our office," she said.

Maynard graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1995 after first receiving her undergraduate degree from the school in 1992.

As assistant prosecuting attorney, she focused on cases dealing with children and sexual abuse.

Smith said first contacted the West Virginia Attorney General's Office about handling the prosecutor's responsibilities until the commission selected an interim prosecutor.

"Our goal is to be transparent and restore faith in people's government," Smith said.

The commissioner said legal issues prevented Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and his staff from assuming responsibility immediately. Smith said he also sought legal and ethical advice from the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney's Institute about how to properly fill the position.

Maynard said the commissioners approached her last night, asking her to consider the appointment. They voted on the decision Thursday during the emergency meeting. Minutes later, she took her oath.

The commission will accept applications for an interim prosecutor until Nov. 1. The next appointed prosecutor will remain in office until the primary election in May.

During the meeting, one person questioned the commission's appointment.

Smith told the crowd there was no pending legal action against Maynard.

Amidst several resignations and an ongoing federal investigation, Maynard said she is confident she can carry out her duties as prosecutor.

"I don't think anyone who knows me thinks there's a cloud hanging over me," she said.