Thursday, March 16, 2006

No Show Joe Misses Every Vote, Still Draws Full Legislative Salary

Delegate Joe C. Ferrell, D-LoganDelegate Joe C. Ferrell, D-Logan, scored a new record this year by missing all 669 roll call votes in the House of Delegates. Despite his failure to appear for even one day of work, he still drew his entire $15,000 annual salary for being in the Legislature, reports Hoppy Kercheval.

Having run against No Show Joe for the House of Delegates in the 19th District in 2002 and 2004, I am intensely familiar with the infinite reasons he should not be in the Legislature.

While I do not have available such statistics for prior years, Ferrell has long been a leader in absenteeism among legislators. Ferrell is usually present at the Legislature only when legislation relating to alcohol, tobacco, or gambling is being considered. Ferrell, who is an unindicted coconspirator in the Lincoln County election fraud case and is not seeking reelection this year, refused to resign his seat in the Legislature despite his apparent inability to continue representing his constituency in Boone, Lincoln, Logan, and Putnam counties. When I attacked No Show Joe's chronic absenteeism in the closing weeks of the 2004 campaign, he responded by running a blatantly false radio ad claiming an almost perfect legislative attendance record that could not be supported by any official records of the House of Delegates.

Ferrell is a crook. In 1992, he got a sweetheart plea bargain from federal prosecutors in which he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, testify against notorious Logan County Circuit Judge Ned Grubb, and made a nonbinding declaration that he had no intention of ever seeking public office again. Among many, many other crimes, he admitted to paying Judge Grubb $58,000 over the course of three elections to buy his way onto a "slate" of candidates for whom votes would be bought using funds supplied by Ferrell and other members of the slate. In 1998, he got back in the saddle and has since been in the House of Delegates.

UPDATE: After this story was originally reported, No Show Joe apparently called the Clerk of the House of Delegates to inquire about returning his salary. He'll be able to afford it, since he's not seeking reelection and won't be spending an even larger sum of money for vote-buying.