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Reams resigns: With a pile of county cash

Jim Reams resigned on Tuesday as Rockingham County Attorney, bringing a long and sordid legal saga to an end. He went out misrepresenting his departure, which was not a surprise.

To get him to resign, the county commission paid Reams his salary for the rest of the year. That amounts to a $42,000 payout.

“I didn’t want to pay him, but it was really the only way to get it done,” County Commissioner Kevin Coyle said.

Reams claimed, preposterously, that he was not resigning for a payout, but retiring. “The commissioners have nothing to do with it,” he said.

Really? Then return the money.

The Attorney General’s investigation of Reams revealed many serious allegations, but resulted in no criminal charges. The AG then tried to oust Reams without going through the proper legal process. The removal procedure dragged out, leaving the Rockingham County Attorney’s office in turmoil for months, and leaving Reams in office but with little credibility.

Reams should have resigned for the good of the county months ago. That he waited for a payout provides a pretty good indication of his loyalties, and was even more distasteful considering the AG’s allegations that he previously had misused county money. His replacement will have a heck of a task rebuilding the office’s morale and credibility.

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