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Recall petition filed: Committee wants Byron Bailey removed from board

Published 11:28am Saturday, June 29, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/STAFF WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

ISLE OF WIGHT—With 301 signatures to their petition, members of the Recall Supervisor Bailey Petition Committee filed the document Friday with the Isle of Wight County Clerk of the Circuit Court Sharon Jones. She confirmed receipt and said a hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, July 5 in a county courtroom.

The committee and its supporters want a judge to rule in their favor, and order Newport District Supervisor Byron “Buzz” Bailey from his seat on Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors.

Bailey and school board member Herb DeGroft have both been heavily criticized since they were revealed to have privately circulated emails containing crude humor to other board members and county staff. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are the subjects of several of those emails.

The exposure came during a supervisors’ meeting on May 16. Dottie Harris, president of the county’s NAACP chapter, said that she was given a copy by school board member Denise Tynes, who in turn had reportedly got them from an anonymous source.

Both Bailey and DeGroft, who represents the Hardy District, have repeatedly apologized if anyone took offense, but said they will not resign from office. DeGroft, however, recently announced that he changed his mind about running for office. His term ends this year; Bailey’s term lasts through 2015.

Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

“We’re just very grateful to live in a country and state that allows such a thing,” Joe Puglisi said about the process of being able to petition to remove someone with whom people no longer want in office.

Puglisi and Brenda Lee are co-captains of the committee.

“We’re very thankful for the support we’ve received from the Newport District,” Puglisi said. “We had a great team.”

He singled out Neal Johnson, “who put a lot of effort” on the matter.

Puglisi has said previously that in his experience of getting candidates on ballots, he’s never had people volunteer to help get signature. For this occasion, there were 15 people who circulated petition copies.

“I’m very much thankful to my son, Dillon, and wife, Kerry,” Puglisi said. “We’re very thankful that the press has showed interest in the matter.”

“As Joe indicted, we’re grateful to everyone who carried and signed a petition,” said Lee. “That should let Mr. Bailey know we do not approve of his actions, nor his words.”

Asked what the committee will do if a judge rejects the petition, Puglisi said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

“We’re confident that judge will make a favorable ruling,” Lee said.

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