For the first time I can remember in nearly 24 years of covering the state Ethics Commission, the commission cancelled its May meeting for lack of a quorum.
That left some important issues hanging, including a question of whether a county's chief deputy may also serve as the county's 911 director, a request presumably from the Kanawha County Commission regarding chief deputy, and former sheriff, Mike Rutherford.
Also on hold is formal approval of an employment exemption to allow former Tomblin chief of staff Rob Alsop to seek private-sector employment. (Although he was granted a temporary exemption in April.)
The bigger concern is that the 12-member commission has been operating with three to four vacancies for some time. (Seven members are required for a quorum.)
While finding people willing to serve on state boards and commissions is one of the biggest headaches for the governor's office, the Ethics Act makes filling vacancies on the commission particularly complicated:
No more than seven members may be from one political party; no more than four members can be from any one congressional district. Then, two members must be former legislators; two must have held full-time elected or appointed positions in state government; one must have been an elected county, municipal or School Board member; one must have been a full-time county or municipal employee; two must have been full-time employees of state, county or municipal boards, commissions or Public Service Districts. Finally, four members can be from the public at large.
No wonder they're running short-handed.
Finally, there may be a new director (Greg Melton) in the General Services Division, but that doesn't mean all is calm at GSD.
The latest hijinks occurred this past Monday, when HVAC technician Dave Williams reported for work at Building 4, the Division of Corrections building on California Avenue, and found that the padlock to a storage room containing expensive HVAC equipment and tools had been cut off, and that the room had been left unsecured.
Williams reported the incident to Protective Services, the Capitol Complex police -- unaware that a GSD employee had snapped the lock over the weekend to access equipment needed to make a routine repair, and had left a voice-mail message for manager Dave Parsons explaining what had occurred.
Things were sorted out, and Protective Services officers were assured no break-in had occurred.
GSD conducted an inventory review to verify that nothing was missing from the storeroom, while Williams reportedly got a chewing out for calling in the Capitol police.
Ultimately, I'd say what they had there was a failure to communicate ...
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.