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Nitro mayor's office remodeling not properly bid

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt contracted out work to remodel his office without following city bidding procedures, city records show.

Contractors began remodeling work on Casebolt's office in January, including putting up new drywall and installing new tile. "We'd been planning on doing it since we came into office," Casebolt said Tuesday.

Invoices for the work include a $1,200 bill from Stover's Construction for hanging and finishing drywall and an invoice for tile work from A-1 Carpet totaling $1,740. In all, invoices for work at City Hall come to about $3,700.

Nitro City Treasurer John Young said money for the work came out of the mayor's budget. The work was also partly paid for with a $1,000 donation from a local citizen.

But Nitro city ordinances require all expenditures over $1,000 to be competitively bid. Casebolt said Tuesday that he didn't think about bidding out the work until after the contracts had already been signed.

"We failed to go through proper bidding procedures for renovation work on my office at Nitro City Hall," Casebolt said. "Ultimately it is my responsibility to ensure that all procedures are followed.

"We all dropped the ball on it, but it was my responsibility," the mayor said.

Casebolt said he told Nitro's city attorney about the error, and also informed officials for the West Virginia Ethics Commission.

But not everyone is buying Casebolt's explanation that the lack of bids was an honest mistake. A flurry of emails under the name Phyllis Summers has bombarded Nitro city officials and local news reporters, suggesting that Casebolt knew the work should have been bid out and had contracts signed without bidding the work anyway.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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