Four Eggers responds to AP report, email content

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Laney Ruckstuhl

Watauga County Attorney Stacy Eggers IV has expressed disappointment with the media following the release of an AP report documenting his correspondence with state election officials.

“The recent AP article is a rehash of prior articles that have already appeared in the newspaper,” Eggers said in an email.

The story about the email disclosure appeared in a September 2015 Watauga Democrat article.

“I am disappointed the news media has failed to investigate the facts for themselves, and instead republished the malicious and baseless allegations,” Eggers said in an email.

Eggers also commented on the content of some of the emails.

In several emails in early August, both Eggers and former state board official Paul Foley refer to the “parting shots” of the previous democratic majority board.

Prior to the change in party control, the Democrat-controlled board passed a one-stop plan which called for an on-campus site, which Eggers says is what they were referring to.

“The reference of the ‘parting shots’ by the previous board refer to actions taken by the then-chair, Stella Anderson, an ASU professor, in violation of directions from the state board of elections director and the state board chairman in an attempt to dictate terms to the new Republican majority on the board prior to her leaving the board,” Eggers said.

Anderson said she knew of no directions from the state board concerning the appropriateness of the outgoing board’s decision to consider or pass a one-stop plan.

A June 5, 2013 letter, provided by Eggers and addressed from Eggers to Anderson outlined Eggers’ concerns over a proposed one-stop implementation plan on the board’s agenda.

Eggers contended that it was inappropriate, given the board’s lame-duck status, to vote on the plan for the upcoming election when such matters were typically handled by incoming boards.

“The board at the time can do whatever it wants to do,” Anderson said. “And then the incoming board can do whatever it wants to do.”

Anderson said the reason the outgoing board passed the one-stop plan was to send a message about the need for early voting on campus.

The issue of Eggers’ reappointment to the Board of Elections was a subject of several emails in late June 2013. Eggers’ status as both a board member and county attorney came up for scrutiny as potential source for conflict-of-interest.

Eggers served as republican member of the board from 2005 to 2013, while he was named county attorney in 2010.

Eggers said in a June 25, 2013 email that although he typically attended the meetings, it was actually his law firm which had been appointed to the position. He suggested that having another member from his firm at the meeting could be a potential solution.

He also said the board had an attorney unaffiliated with his firm who advised the board of elections.

State board chairman Josh Howard and Foley decided that Eggers’ holding both roles did constitute a conflict of interest.

Eggers said in his email that the N.C. Bar Association rules “do not prohibit service to the community in both capacities.”

“I believe the rationale of the state board was that they wanted the county attorney in a position to be able to advise the local board directly, rather than for the county to use an outside counsel in the event a conflict arose,” he said.

Eggers defended the voting setup for the 2013 municipal elections, saying “the early voting plans adopted since [Anderson] has been off the board have resulted in higher turnout in Watauga County than the ones she established for partisan gain.”

Story: Kevin Griffin, Reporter