‘Pay up,’ Fayette Commission tells local GOP

File Photo.

A request by the Fayette County Republican Party (FCRP) to reverse a previous Fayette County Commission decision to seek attorney’s fees in the past effort by FCRP to remove Marilyn Watts from the elections board failed at the commission’s April 25 meeting.

Commissioner Steve Brown after the discussion made a motion to have the commission “refrain from seeking legal fees in this case.”

The motion died from lack of a second.

“We do have a fiduciary responsibility to all the citizens,” said Commissioner Chuck Oddo. “I don’t want to pick one side or the other.”

Commissioner Charles Rousseau agreed, saying the commission has a duty to be accountable, even when things are not comfortable.

Fayette County Republican Party Chairman Tyrone Jones and past Chairman Scott Fabricius in March sent a letter asking the commission to “reverse its decision to seek attorney’s fees from the petitioners in regard to their efforts to remove Marilyn Watts from the Board of Elections.”

Commissioners in February 2016 on a 4-1 vote instructed the county attorney to seek compensation from the petitioners, including attorneys, in the Watts case.

Fayette County Superior Court Judge Stephen Boswell in a Jan. 3 ruling found that FCRP and Fabricius, pertaining to previous actions brought against Watts, had failed to present evidence of her misconduct and were acting to harass Watts and her family.

Fabricius and FCRP attempted to remove Marilyn Watts from her position on the elections board prior to the end of her term (in 2016) by nominating another person for the position even though there was no vacancy, the court said.

Marilyn Watts then filed for and received a temporary restraining order (TRO) in 2013 that prevented the Fayette County Commission from honoring the FCRP request that she be removed.

Watts was re-appointed to the elections board in 2012 to serve a four-year term.