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Cabell official says he regrets kiss comment

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Cabell County Commissioner Bob Bailey says he regrets telling two female commissioners that they ought to kiss each other.

Bailey, a Democrat, made the comment to Republican Commissioners Nancy Cartmill and Anne Yon during an Aug. 8 commission meeting after accusing them of conspiring on votes prior to meetings.

"You get your heads together on the phone and come in here and you know how the vote's going to be," Bailey can be heard saying on the audio file of the meeting. "(Inaudible) kiss her. That's what you ought to do."

He told The Herald-Dispatch ( ) that the comment wasn't intended as sexist. He said that he is frustrated because he believes Cartmill and Yon don't put enough effort into their jobs as commissioners because they both have full-time jobs.

"If I said anything to them, I don't mean nothing by it," Bailey told the newspaper. "But I do mean it when I tell them to come to work. I'm just trying to get them to be good county commissioners."

During an argument eight months ago at the end of a commission meeting, the 73-year-old Bailey said that if he is still alive, he will win in the next election. He told Yon she "can't wear them tight skirts and expect people to vote for you again," the newspaper said.

Yon asked Bailey at the time if the remark was sexist. He said it was not and that he was "just telling you fact," according to the newspaper.

Cartmill said that she believes Bailey's comments were sexist and demeaning to women. Yon said the Aug. 8 comment was inappropriate and out of line.

But they said that they likely won't file a formal complaint.

Cartmill said Bailey doesn't like being outvoted on a matter.

"You can tell by the way he reacts, and he didn't participate the rest of the meeting (last week)," she told the newspaper.

Yon, who took office in January 2011, said that she has tried to work with Bailey but he puts too much emphasis on party affiliations.

"I feel like if he is going to continue to behave like a child, I'm not going to respond to him," Yon told the newspaper. "It's a waste of everyone's time, and it's offensive to the people who attend."

County Manager Chris Tatum said he would step in and tell the commission that work must be completed on behalf of Cabell County residents, if the conflict ever reached a point where the commission could not make a decision on an important matter.


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