ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) - WAVY.com has learned there is a citizens' petition to remove the Isle of Wight County administrators who sent offensive e-mails to other board members.
"When I look at the emails, I can't just sit and accept that," said Joe Puglisi, who is a recall petition organizer.
"I think his comments are divisive," said Brenda Lee, who is helping organize the petition drive. "I am ashamed. I thought we had resolved all these issues 40 years ago when we achieved desegregation."
Supervisor Bailey sent emails to county officials on their county computers making fun of First Lady Michelle Obama. One labeled a picture of topless, female African warriors as Michelle Obama's High School Reunion and another said she was offered $50 to pose nude for National Geographic.
Attorney Stan Clark wrote the petition for recall and removal from office. Clark also ran against Bailey in the last election.
"The emails over a prolonged period of time, the pattern of emails adversely affect the County in a number of different ways that we have set out here," said Clark.
The recall petition for Bailey gives the reason for the recall: "racially charged remarks, emails denigrate blacks and women, and they were sent to County computers. ... Mr. Bailey's actions have created a hostile work environment for county employees."
Bailey has his supporters. WAVY.com found David Doemer outside Bailey's office.
"I think first, Mr. Bailey is doing an excellent job, and second, I think he cares about the people," said Doemer.
Doemer, who claims Bailey helped him with a problem with the county said, "Mr. Bailey should do everything he can to work with the people like he has been, and go ahead and support him, and stand behind him, and I have talked to several people who feel the same way."
"That is another motivation for us to make our officials accountable," Puglisi said. "If there is no accountability then everyone in the county suffers."
The effort to recall Bailey will need 238 signatures in the Newport District. State Code sets that number at 10% of the total votes cast in the last election for that seat. 205 signatures are needed to recall and remove from office School Board Member Herb DeGroft, who also sent out the emails.
Some hope this story is bigger than just the Isle of Wight County.
"We want government officials to look at us here...that if they might think about doing this, then perhaps they will think we shouldn't do this," petition organizer Brenda Lee said.
Two candidates running against DeGroft are expected to hand in their petitions to run with more than enough signatures tomorrow.
DeGroft, who is the only filed candidate so far, told WAVY.com Monday that he still plans on running, but has until June 11 to withdrawal from the race.
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