WILLIAMSON, W.Va. -- Mingo County commissioners appointed Teresa Maynard as the county's new prosecutor and Mike Carter as the third commissioner Wednesday. Their predecessors recently resigned in the wake of federal corruption charges.
With several federal investigations still underway in the southern West Virginia county, remaining local officials are hopeful the appointments are a step toward regaining the public's trust.
"Our county's been through a lot, and I hope today is the first day of healing for the county," Commissioner Greg "Hootie" Smith said after the meeting.
"The positions have been filled and I think everyone that's in those positions needs to put self-interest aside and move forward for the citizens and allow Mingo County to heal."
Previously the only fulltime assistant prosecutor, Maynard became prosecutor on an interim basis in October after former prosecutor Michael Sparks resigned.
Sparks has since agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge in connection to his alleged conspiring with ex-Judge Michael Thornsbury and others to thwart an FBI investigation.
Former Commissioner Dave Baisden is also accused of playing a role in the scheme to prevent a man from speaking with the FBI about former Sheriff Eugene Crum's alleged drug activity.
Baisden stepped down in October after pleading guilty to a separate federal extortion charge. He admitted trying to force the county's tire provider to give him a discount on a set of tires for his personal vehicle.
Smith said the commission first asked the office of state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to send an assistant attorney general to fill the prosecutor's role. The office told him that was not an option because an AG can't represent the state and county, Smith said.
Morrisey spokeswoman Beth Ryan declined comment.
The commission chose Maynard over five other candidates thanks to her previous experience as a prosecutor and working on jury trials, Smith said.
Carter is a retired coal miner who's served three terms on the county board of education, Commissioner John Mark Hubbard said. His experience working with the board's budget will be a great asset for the commission and set him apart from the 13 other candidates, Smith said.
Smith and Hubbard interviewed all but one candidate, who didn't show up, for in-person meetings Monday. The commission isn't required by law to ask for resumes or interview anyone for these appointments, Smith said. The decisions were made after the interviews, Hubbard said, contrary to what might be found on "social media."
"When it comes right down to it...what we perceive going into an interview doesn't necessarily be what we decide after that interview, and that's what we were trying to say," Hubbard said.
"We did not contact anyone, we did not solicit anyone to come and be an applicant, nor did we deter anyone from applying as well."
The commission should have picked a prosecutor who didn't currently work in the office, argued local private investigator Don Stevens and attorney Charles "Butch" West.
Stevens protested Maynard's appointment in the middle of the meeting.