Mingo County Clerk “Big Jim” Hatfield’s office recently accepted the resignation of Chief Deputy Clerk Bridgette Puckett.
Hatfield told the MCC his office is now short an employee, and asked the Commission to approve the hire of Darlene Hannah, the wife of Mingo County Sheriff Lonnie Hannah, at a starting salary of $24,000.
Hatfield expressed concerns about how his office would be able to operate if an employee could not work, and said he would like Hannah to start immediately.
Sheriff Hannah ran for County Commissioner in last May’s primary election, and was defeated by MCC President John Mark Hubbard. Hubbard abstained from voting on the hiring of the sheriff’s wife.
“No matter what I say or do, it will be viewed as political," Hubbard said.
The two remaining Commissioners voted against hiring the sheriff’s wife.
Commissioners Greg “Hootie” Smith and David Baisden said it would appear to be a political move if Darlene Hatfield were given the position.
“Based on public perception, its not proper to hire the wife of the sheriff,” Smith said.
“Nothing personal, but I also vote no,” Baisden said. He cited the reputation of Mingo County as politically corrupt.
"Mingo County has been given a black eye because politics has always played a part — but we have moved beyond that,” Baisden said. “As a commission, we have accomplished much."
MCC suggested Hatfield submit a different applicant for their approval.