A petition to remove Hardy District School Board representative Herb DeGroft is being circulated by members of the Isle of Wight NAACP.
The group is seeking at least 205 signatures from registered voters in the Hardy District and wants to have the petitions completed by July 1.
At the same time, a group of Newport District residents are circulating a petition to remove Newport District Supervisor Buzz Bailey.
So far, both men have refused to resign, although DeGroft announced that he would withdraw his candidacy for the School Board seat, which is up for election in November.
Two candidates have announced they would run for the seat — Tina Hill and Alvin Wilson. While the School Board voted 4-1 for DeGroft to resign, the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors defeated a motion for Bailey’s removal with a 3-2 vote.
The wording of DeGroft’s removal petition is similar to that of Bailey’s, and accuses him of “neglect of duty, misuse of office and/incompetence in the performance of his duties …”
The petition goes on to state, “He has jeopardized the School Board’s current and future ability to attract students to Isle of Wight County Public Schools. Mr. DeGroft’s actions have created a hostile work environment for Isle of Wight County School Board employees. He has impaired Isle of Wight County School Board efforts to attract qualified women and minority work candidates and adversely affected the retention of the same.”
The issue arose during a May supervisor budget work session when Bailey expressed frustration with the county’s lack of money and repeated requests by departments for more funding by asking why Isle of Wight couldn’t print its own money like the federal government.
He then said, “Save your Confederate money. The south will rise again.”
That was followed by a series of emails that surfaced and that included a photo of bare-chested tribal women with spears, stating it was First Lady Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.
Another showed President Barack Obama on a tricycle and followed by a tank.
The emails were forwarded to a number of people by DeGroft and Bailey, including county employees.
The NAACP tried to encourage Bailey and DeGroft to bow out gracefully, but now this will open up the board to investigation, said NAACP President Dottie Harris at a meeting Monday. ...(Subscribe!)