OXFORD — The newest Granville County Commissioner won't give up his seat, despite some bad press. That has some people very upset.
Ed Strother was arrested last week, the day before he was sworn in. He is charged with beating his wife.
At least five fellow commissioners have asked Ed Strother to step down, but Strother has refused. Legally, there is nothing his fellow commissioners or the voters can do about it.
When Strother was sworn in, he didn't mention that his wife had sworn out a warrant, charging him with abuse, hours before he took the oath of office as a Granville County Commissioner. Court documents say Denell Strother accused her husband of throwing her against a door and trying to strangle her on two different occasions. Strother's fellow commissioners say they are outraged, especially when they hear from their female constituents, including commissioner Annette Myers.
The new commissioner's wife has now dropped the charges against her husband. Some voters aren't yet ready to forget about it, however.
The situation highlights a fact that effects every county resident in North Carolina. State law has no provision for removing a county commissioner from office.
Fleming Bell, a county government expert at the North Carolina Institute of Government, explained that a felony conviction is about the only way an elected county official can be removed from office. State law does not permit a recall of a county vote, although some cities do.
Voters will get a chance to have their say soon, though. Strother will have to file in the May primary if he wants to keep his office.