The bid proposals are being evaluated and scored, so it could be weeks yet before the contract is awarded.
Once again, the state Ethics Commission has ruled that the Ethics Act prohibits public employees and elected officials from endorsing products or companies or appearing in commercials or advertisements (other than political ads).
As general counsel Joan Parker put it, it would be hard to contemplate a circumstance where a public employee could appear in a commercial without violating the Ethics Act.
Which raises the age-old question of how state college football and basketball coaches -- who are technically state employees -- can be paid to appear in commercials, or have endorsement deals with companies such as Nike.
When then-commissioner Brad Crouser raised the issue a decade ago, the explanation was that no one had ever filed an ethics complaint against any coach, and that the Ethics Commission lacks the power to initiate its own investigations.
Finally, it seems somebody took President Obama's "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made it happen" comments way too seriously.
That somebody is state Board of Education president (and Fairmont businessman) L. Wade Linger Jr., who posted a three-page letter "thanking" the president for helping his businesses, and then proceeding to list every federal, state, and local tax and fee that his companies pay.
That includes everything from $25 for an annual state business license, to payroll dedications for Social Security and Medicare, to payments for Workers Compensation and state unemployment insurance coverage, to state and federal gas taxes, and even down to 911 fees on phone bills and landing fees on airline tickets.
"So thank you, Mr. President, for reminding me of all the ways government jumps in to build businesses in America. How thoughtless and selfish we small business people have been to think we did it on our own," Linger stated in his manifesto.
"And if by some miracle, we can absorb all of the government 'help,' overcome all of the other business challenges, become one in three [companies] to stay in business and eke out a profit, we will pay nearly half to the state and federal government in income taxes. So please Mr. President, tell me more about how I need to do more to pay my fair share," he continued.
Among the tax burdens listed by Linger are various property taxes, which seems somewhat incongruous, since property taxes obviously are the primary funding source for the state public schools system.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.