CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State ethics commissioners left no doubt Thursday that it is illegal for a public service district to allow its employees to take used or surplus PSD property to sell on eBay for personal profit.
"You can't give away property to your employees for any reason," Ethics Commission Executive Director Joan Parker said of the practice.
Commissioner Jack Buckalew, a former state senator and State Police superintendent, said he found it hard to believe anyone would think such actions could be acceptable.
"Have we ever had an opinion on asking dumb questions?" Buckalew asked.
However, it was not the PSD but Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper who requested the advisory opinion, after raising concerns about employees of the Union Public Service District in Cross Lanes being allowed to sell surplus property and keep the proceeds.
"When I complained about it, they admitted it was going on, but said, 'we don't have a policy about this,'" Carper said of management of the PSD.
Carper said he requested the advisory opinion to clarify that the practice of giving surplus public property to employees for their personal gain violates the state ethics law.
Also Thursday, the Ethics Commission:
* Met in executive session to approve conciliation agreements to resolve ethics complaints against three people, including Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh, who was accused of accepting gifts from local businesses in exchange for free use of city resources.
The agreements will not become public record until they are signed by those involved, but Pugh reportedly agreed to retire as mayor and pay restitution.