MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Teresa Maynard and Mike Carter know what the scandal-weary residents of Mingo County must be thinking: Only people who are connected to the problems could get appointed to powerful positions in a government now best known for misconduct and corruption.
They're determined to prove the cynics wrong.
"I think the naysayers, when they actually see what I can do over the next year, will be more than satisfied," said Maynard, sworn in this week as county prosecutor to replace her disgraced former boss, Michael Sparks. She vows to change how things have been done but said she knows it will take a lot to earn trust.
"I got where I am today because I worked hard and I am an honest person," Maynard said. "But what I do is worth more than what I say. They need to see what I can do. And I can do this."
The County Commission also replaced one of its own this week, appointing Carter, a longtime school board member, to fill the seat of Dave Baisden.
Both Sparks and Baisden resigned last month after they were charged in separate cases that grew out of a continuing federal corruption investigation.
Carter and Maynard told The Associated Press in phone interviews that they understand outsiders generally associate the county with three things - the legendary feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, the bloody labor battles of the 1920s as coal mines first unionized, and corruption.
This year, the scandals unfolding in the county across the Tug Fork River from Kentucky have touched every level of the criminal justice system.
Longtime Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for misconduct on the bench that could send him to prison. Ex-prosecutor Michael Sparks is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy Nov. 18 and has lost his law license.
Along with Sparks and Thornsbury, Baisden was implicated in a scheme that federal prosecutors say was designed to protect former Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations he'd bought drugs.
But Baisden is awaiting sentencing on an unrelated extortion charge after threatening a business operator who refused to sell him tires at a government discount.
And the sheriff at the center of several scandals is dead after an unrelated April shooting, with a former boxing student now charged with first-degree murder. Tennis Melvin Maynard's father first described his son as mentally disturbed but later alleged the sheriff had molested the suspect when he was a teenager.
Maynard, who is not related to the new prosecutor, is awaiting trial.
Thornsbury, the county's only judge for 16 years, also is accused of enlisting a state trooper, a former emergency management director and others in repeated attempts to frame his secretary's husband for false crimes.
Prosecutors say the judge abused his power solely to eliminate a romantic rival. They plan to dismiss those charges in exchange for his guilty plea in the other conspiracy case.