WELCH - A group of Welch citizens intent on ousting a school board member said it has obtained enough signatures to impanel a grand jury.
Welch Citizens Allied for Responsible Education has collected more than the 500 signatures required to impanel a jury and investigate claims that Dennis McCord is abusing his position as president of the Welch Board of Education.
The group subsequently notified McCord that he had until 4 p.m. Wednesday to resign - he did not do so.
“We have hoped throughout this situation that Mr. McCord would do the sensible thing and resign his seat so that the school and the community can move on,” said Trudy Hankins, spokesperson for citizens group. “If McCord has not resigned from the school board by 4 p.m Wednesday, we will file our completed petition with the court and allow the system to work … The decision is Mr. McCord's.”
Erik Johnson, McCord's attorney, said Wednesday that his client will not step down and that he will seek to verify the signatures on the petition.
McCord is accused of verbally assaulting, cursing and threatening retaliation against Welch Superintendent R. Clark McKeon and a softball coach after a family member did not log any playing time.
At its May 13 meeting, the board of education upheld the superintendent's recommendation that McCord be issued a six-month suspension and banned from school property, with the exception of board facilities during board meetings.
McKeon could not be reached for comment.
“This is a man who was re-elected five times to the board,” Johnson said. “Mr. McCord will serve on the school board as long as the voters keep him there.”
McCord was also the 1999 state school board member of the year, Johnson said.
Hankins said the petition will now be filed with the Craig County court upon certification that all the signatures are those of registered Craig County voters.
If the petition is found to have the sufficient number of signatures, a grand jury will be impaneled within 30 days.