Tazewell, Va. – After hearing from the town attorney and an interested citizen Judge Brian Patton took no action on appointing Jeff Hurst to fill the vacant seat on the Richlands Town Council.
Patton, chief of the 29th judicial district took the case after Rich Patterson recused himself. Jack S. Hurley, Jr. had earlier recused himself after rescinding an appointment of Hurst he made last week. Patton conducted a hearing in open court and Richlands Town Attorney Wayne McClanahan presented the request to appoint Hurst.
He acknowledged to the court that the town charter seemed to indicate four votes were needed to make the request. He presented the judge a letter from the attorney for Councilman Doug Ratliff supporting that position.
Laura Mollo addressed the court and said council and the mayor were asked three times to fill the seat left vacant when Vickie England resigned and refused to do so. She also told the court there was no longer an emergency since the budget had paid adopted earlier.
Mollo cited a court case supporting the argument for four votes to make the nomination and argued the town did not follow Roberts’ rules of Order which they adopted. She said multiple nominations were allowed but the town refused to accept the nomination of Karen Deel.
Mollo presented the court a letter from Deel, who was a candidate in the last election saying she would serve. Mollo said the public had been denied input because council kept recessing instead of adjourning and she was told by the mayor time for public comment had passed.
Patton accepted documents and said he would review the file and make a decision.