JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. - A typical meeting turned controversial, when tea party members were asked to a leave a Democratic workshop at the Jefferson County Commission public meeting room a few weeks back.
Now the rules are changed to allow state-recognized parties to hold closed meetings, but a tea party member is speaking out.
It's been going on for years, allowing political parties to use the public meeting rooms for closed door meeting whether it's either the Democrats or the Republicans, that's according to Jefferson County Commission President Dale Manuel. After weeks of debate, Manuel says it's officially in effect to allow private caucus meetings in the public meeting room, after a three to two vote."We would have the same ability they have in the West Virginia house and the U.S. Congress to have caucuses, so with these public buildings they are allowed to have closed door caucuses," said Dale Manuel, Jefferson County Commission.
The debates were spurred after Tea Party members were asked to leave a Democratic workshop held by Delegate Stephen Skinner at the public meeting room, a few weeks back. With the new rules, Tea Party members now say some county commission members are trying to hide their guilt.
"By passing that, it acknowledges that it was not in the rules, there was no apology," said Patricia Rucker, Jefferson County Tea Party. "If anything they were flagrantly maligning and making fun of those citizens who were kicked out, who came to that meeting room."
Rucker says closed political parties meetings should not be held in the public meeting room.
"I'm for them clarifying the rules, they didn't need to change the rules," said Rucker. "I think it is wrong for partisan political parties to be done in a taxpayer funded room but addition this amendment did not change anything that happened."
Manuel says the Tea Party should not have been at the Skinner workshop.
"It was almost ridiculous to me to think, that someone would have suppose, that when we were talking about strategies for our democratic candidate, that we would allow people from other affiliations to be there and to listen," said Manuel.
Rucker says she may plan to file a class action suit against the Jefferson County Commission.