Bernier Appointed To Pocahontas Solid Waste Authority

Marlinton, WV – After a short, but somewhat contentious discussion, the Pocahontas County Commission appointed Doug Bernier to the sometimes controversial Solid Waste Authority Board during the Commission meeting Tuesday.

Based on recommendations from current members of the SWA, including Chairman Ed Riley, Saffer made a motion to re-appoint county sanitarian David Henderson to the board. Before offering a second to the motion, Commissioner David Fleming said he wanted to hear from the other parties who submitted a written request to be appointed – Doug Bernier and former board member John Leyzorek.

Leyzorek, in his statement, said that the very reason not to appoint Henderson is because of his endorsement by Riley.

“Mr. Riley has on a couple of occasions withheld information from the Solid Waste Authority or made what I believe to be intentional misrepresentations to the members of the SWA” says Leyzorek “in order to obtain a decision which he preferred.”

Leyzorek cites diversity as his second reason for appointing someone other than Henderson to the board. He feels the County Commission appointee should be someone from outside the board, and questions whether Henderson might face a conflict of interest in serving on the SWA board.

Commissioner David Fleming points out that the West Virginia Ethics Commission did rule that Henderson’s service on the board is not a problem.

Doug Bernier told the Commission members that he’s followed the SWA for years and would like to see changes on that board.

David Henderson pointed out that both Leyzorek and Bernier have been sued by the SWA for non-payment of fees in the past. He accuses both of having a personal agenda is seeking the appointment.

“We’ve been involved with both of these gentlemen and one went all the way to the Supreme Court which found that we were totally legal and our system is a good system” says Henderson. “[These are]Two people who have cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses. It’s really on behalf of their best interests and not for interests of the people of the county, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

However Henderson’s arguments didn’t sway either Fleming or fellow Commissioner Reta Griffith, who made a motion to appoint Bernier, after Saffers motion died for lack of a second. While she acknowledges that Bernier still faces legal action with the SWA, she also notes that he has been in compliance with state law regarding waste disposal since 2007. The appointment was approved on a two to one vote with Commission President Martin Saffer opposed.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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