PRINCETON — Mercer County’s prosecuting attorney said Thursday that he plans to leave his post by the end of October to accept a position with another county prosecutor’s office.
Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said that he “had accepted employment with another jurisdiction in Kanawha County, having failed to secure the Republican nomination for reelection in June. My term will expire and I looking forward to serving the citizens of Kanawha County. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had here.”
“Well, after January 1(2021) I have no guarantee of employment and I need to provide for my family,” Sitler said.
Sitler, a resident of Bramwell, was elected in 2016 after serving as assistant prosecutor since 2005. His legal experience covers 23 years, starting in the public defenders office in 1997 and eventually working as a magistrate and becoming chief assistant prosecutor before being elected to the county prosecutor’s post.
Attorney Brian Cochran won the Republican nomination for prosecuting attorney during the June elections. It was his first run for political office, and he will run unopposed in November since no Democrat filed to run for the position.
County Commissioner Bill Archer said that the commission received Sitler’s letter of registration Wednesday. In it, Sitler informed the commission that he would start in early November as an assistant prosecutor in Kanawha County. The resignation is effective Oct. 30.
According to the West Virginia Code, the commission must fill the prosecuting attorney’s position within 30 days. This person, who must be a member of the same political party as the official leaving office, would handle the prosecutor’s job until Cochran takes up his duties on Jan. 4, 2021, Archer said.
Archer said the county commission had not yet picked anybody to take over the prosecutor’s duties, but would discuss it during the commission’s Oct. 13 meeting.
Cochran, who is a Republican, would be a possible candidate, Archer said.
Cochran said he had just heard the news Thursday about Sitler’s decision to resign, and whether he would be asked him to fill in as prosecutor until his term begins in January 2021 would be the county commission’s decision.
“I appreciate Mr. Sitler’s service to the county and it’s basically up to the county commission who they appoint as his replacement, but I’m certainly looking forward becoming the next prosecutor in Mercer County,” Cochran said.
— Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]