CRA defended its program. Some board members said the GOEO was trying to cover up its own problems. Last December, former GOEO director Ed Harper abruptly resigned without publicly giving a reason.
Davis replaced Harper as acting director, and Gov. Joe Manchin last month appointed Julie Alston of the Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center in Charleston to head the office beginning Sept. 20.
Eventually, CRA relinquished the weatherization program while continuing to provide other social services.
Three other agencies -- MountainHeart Community Services, the Southwestern Community Action Council and the Coalfield Community Action Partnership -- are now handling CRA's weatherization work, but they must review all the applicants' paperwork.
"[CRA] didn't have a good application process," Davis said. "Honestly, people fell through the cracks. We're trying to recover those files now."
Tim Salmons, executive director of Coalfield Community Action, said his agency received the files of 400 people who had applied for help through CRA. His staff must work to re-verify all those applications, and has gotten through about 220, he said. They are prioritizing houses that CRA didn't finish.
Nationally, federal funding for weatherization grew 70-fold under the stimulus, said Chris Whatley, director of the Washington, D.C., office of the Council of State Governments.
State weatherization officials were expected to greatly accelerate their work, he said. At the same time, they faced intense scrutiny from federal auditors.
"If you know that you're under the microscope of scrutiny," he said, "you're going to make sure that every single 'I' is dotted."
Delayed federal guidance on how to pay contract workers also tied up the program, Whatley said.
The Obama administration is trying to put a positive spin on the program, despite its rocky start. At an event in New Hampshire last month, Vice President Joe Biden announced that 200,000 houses had been improved nationwide, saying, "We've hit the accelerator on the weatherization program."
Davis said her office has made administrative improvements since last year.
"We are better prepared now," she said. "We think we're going to be off to a much smoother, positive year."
Hoffman, of Cross Lanes, hopes that is the case. Over the past year, she has made countless calls to the state, the county, and social-service agencies to try to get help.
"It just seems to me that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand's doing," said Hoffman, who receives Social Security benefits.
After recent rate hikes, her electric bill now tops $125 a month on the budget plan.
"I really want them to get out here before winter," Hoffman said.
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.