Jefferson, N.C.- On Thursday, August 27, 2020, Ashe County Commissioner Larry Dix was arrested and charged with four counts of Indecent Liberties with a Minor. These felony charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). As of the date of this release, the charges are still pending and the defendant has been released on bond.
Commissioner Dix was elected to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 5th, 2016. As of the date of this press release, neither Commissioner Dix nor his legal counsel have made any statement in regards to his intent to continue his service as a commissioner or discontinue his service on the Board, which is set to end in 2022.
“At this time, it would be too early to make any statement on Commissioner Dix’s service. The County will consult with its own legal counsel as more information comes to light.”, said Adam Stumb, County Manager.
The North Carolina State Constitution, Article Six, Section Eight, states two prominent reasons an elected official becomes “disqualified” from holding office. One is being disqualified to vote for the elected position in which that person holds office. The second reason for being disqualified from holding office is being “adjudged guilty of treason or any other felony against this State or the United States, or any person who has been adjudged guilty of a felony in another state that also would be a felony if it had been committed in this State, or any person who has been adjudged guilty of corruption or malpractice in any office”.
The Board of Commissioners does have an established process for replacing any vacancies that may become open on the Board for any reason. An open position can be filled by the Board of Commissioners upon consultation with the relevant political party of the Board member being replaced. In that situation, a majority vote by the Board is sufficient to fill the position. Because a vacancy creates an even number of Board members, if no consensus can be reached on a replacement, state statute dictates that the Clerk of Court can make the appointment to the Board.