Others said the pass-through would not constitute an unethical use of public office for the private gain of another. They also concluded there would be no financial benefit to the local health department, although the program would benefit public health in the region.
Ultimately, the commission concluded that the pass-through would not violate state ethics law, but advised the health department to seek a separate legal opinion to determine if the arrangement violates any other state or federal laws.
• Approved draft legislation to be introduced next session. That includes proposed legislation to modernize West Virginia's Open Meetings Act.
Under the law, state agencies and other public bodies must publish notice of meetings at least five days prior to the meeting date.
The Secretary of State's Office maintains a meetings-notice page on its website that can be updated instantaneously, but the current law also requires that the meeting notice be published in the State Register, which is printed each Friday, but has a Wednesday publication deadline.
That means that, if an agency determines on a Thursday that it needs to hold a meeting the following Wednesday, it could comply with the five-day-notice requirement using the website.
However, under the existing requirement that the meeting notice also must be published in the State Register, that meeting would have to be postponed for a week.
Under the proposed change, publication on the secretary of state's website would be sufficient to comply with the public-notice requirement.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.