Editor’s note: This story has been updated on December 8 with the names of the four applicants to fill Reed’s vacant seat on the County Commission.
by KATE SHUNNEY
Morgan County Commissioner Ken Reed resigned his seat on the commission on Wednesday, December 2 in preparation for starting work as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates in their new term.
Reed, a Republican, won the seat in the State Legislature on November 3. He will represent the 59th district, which includes parts of eastern Morgan County and parts of Berkeley County.
Reed previously said he would step down from the County Commission if he won the state seat. In addition to serving as a commissioner, Reed is a pharmacist and runs several businesses in the tri-state region.
Commissioners Joel Tuttle and Sean Forney formally accepted Reed’s resignation at their regular meeting on Wednesday. It became effective at the end of the day.
Reed’s term on the commission would have run through December 31, 2022.
Appointing a replacement
Commissioners Tuttle and Forney will appoint Reed’s replacement on the commission. They can do so by agreeing on a new commissioner, or by deferring to the local Republican Executive Committee for a list of three possible candidates.
Tuttle, the commission president, said he believes he and Forney can agree on a person to fill the remainder of Reed’s term.
The County Commission accepted letters of interest and resumes from county residents interested in filling Reed’s vacancy through Monday, December 7.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Tuttle announced the names of the four applicants for the vacancy: Wayne Sanderson, Jason Didawick, G.W. Easton and William Clark.
In order to be eligible to serve in Reed’s seat, a county resident must be 18 years of age, must have been a registered Republican since at least October 3 of this year and must reside in one of three magisterial districts not represented on the commission already. That means a candidate for the appointment must live in one of the following voter precincts in Morgan County: Precinct 2, 6, 8, 13, 18, 24 or 25.
The commission, under state law, has 30 days to fill the vacant seat on their board.
Tuttle said the commission office has already been contacted by four official applicants.
Tuttle and Forney will talk to or interview applicants individually on their own. They hope to come to their December 16 commission meeting with a narrowed list of top applicants, said Tuttle.
Reed’s replacement will only serve the remainder of his term, and would have to run for election in 2022 if they wanted to keep the seat.
Tuttle said he expects to ask applicants if they intend to seek election at the end of the appointment, saying continuity is an important consideration for the commission.
In submitting his resignation from the commission, Reed said community service is an important experience and he encourages anyone considering public office to go for it.
“I’m completely humbled. It’s been a great experience,” he said.
Reed said it’s “easy to pound people on social media” but it’s hard to understand the job unless they serve in public office themselves.
Reed said he would continue to push for Morgan County needs, but from the state level.
He said he appreciated the expertise and knowledge of his fellow commissioners, and the dedication of county staff in every office.
“These offices are temporary. We come and go. The people who work here really run the place,” said Reed.
Commissioner Tuttle said he appreciated the skills and knowledge Reed contributed during his four years on the commission.
“Everybody brings a little something to the table,” Tuttle said.