Ronald Foster announced via an email sent at 7:25 p.m. on Friday, October 26, that he would resign from his seat on the County Commission effective Tuesday, November 1. Foster had two months remaining on the six-year to which he was elected in 2016. Foster established residency in Winfield in 2021 and filed for reelection to the commission in January but was defeated by former Sheriff Steve Deweese for commission candidacy in the May Primary.
According to media reports, Foster’s resignation was prompted by a discussion with the Secretary of State’s Office concerning his recent change in voter registration. On September 7, Foster registered to vote in Bedford County, Tennessee. Foster’s voting on commission business and collecting his salary as a commissioner after September 7th is an issue because West Virginia law requires county commissioners to reside in the district which they represent.
Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia filed a petition in Putnam County Circuit Court on Friday in which he asked the court to remove Foster from office. Sorsaia stated that Foster established residency in Tennessee when he registered to vote on September 7 and that his presence on the commission creates significant legal issues. “The first and foremost significant concern is that he should not be receiving a paycheck, employment and retirement benefits from Putnam County if it is not legal for him to serve in the position,” Sorsaia wrote. Sorsaia stated that Foster has continued to receive monetary benefits after September 7th and that his vote on an issue has the possibility of a decision being made null and void.
The record shows that Foster participated in county commission meetings on September 13, September 29 and October 11. Foster was not present at the county commission meeting of October 25.
County commission president Andy Skidmore said that he does not have concerns because all votes during the last two months were unanimous with all three commissioners concurring.
The commission is scheduled to meet November 15th at 5:00pm and December 13th at 9:00am. All actions at these meetings will require the approval of both Commissioner Skidmore and Commissioner Brian Ellis.
On November 8, voters will elect Foster’s successor who will take office in January. The choice is Steve Deweese (Republican) and Jim Withrow (Democrat).