Pocahontas County Public Service District Board Member Files Ethics Charge Against Fellow Board Member
Charleston, WV – Board member Amon Tracey has filed a complaint with the West Virginia Ethics Commission against fellow board member David Litsey. In the complaint, a copy of which was provided by Mr. Litsey, Tracey alleges that Litsey used his public position as board member to terminate an existing sewer project in order to institute an alternative project that would be financially beneficial to him. Specifically, Tracey accuses Litsey of voting against the Thrasher Engineering designed single sewer plant at Linwood in favor of the David Rigby engineering solution that would allow for multiple plants.
Tracey’s overall question to the Ethics Commission is whether or not Litsey should be allowed to vote on certain matters that come before the PSD board. The complaint is broken down further into four distinct statements.
The first concerns Litsey’s partial ownership in approximately 470 acres of land adjacent to Snowshoe. The complaint alleges that Litsey is a developer of that property, and that if the PSD chooses not to run sewer lines into that acreage, he would responsible for the installation. But Litsey already acknowledges that geographical, environmental and economic factors would make tying into the existing or proposed sewer facilities impractical.
The second part says that by virtue of his being a member the Snowshoe Property Owners Council, Litsey has a clear conflict of interest in casting votes concerning the sewer plant. However, Litsey says the West Virginia Public Service Commission has already ruled that membership in SPOC or being a ratepayer, is not necessarily a disqualifying characteristic. SPOC opposes the single plant design.
In the third part of the complaint, Tracey says Litsey acknowledges that he is a developer, and as such, could be a direct competitor with those who have filed complaints against the Rigby plan, including Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
Finally, perhaps the most serious accusation alleges that Litsey conspired to allow changes to the scorecards when the PSD board was evaluating engineering proposals for the regional sewer solution. The complaint accuses PSD Board Chairman Tom Shipley and PSD Attorney Chris Negley of removing the scorecards from the room for about three minutes after an engineer selection process on December 30, 2010. Tracey accuses them of changing the scores to favor the proposal of David Rigby’s company, Waste Water Management, Inc.
The ethics complaint by Tracey is in addition to another ethics complaint filed by a group opposed to the Rigby design. That complaint can be found on the West Virginia Public Service Commission website under case number 11-0028-PSD-PC.
Litsey has 15 days to respond to the Ethics Commission if he wants to appear in person before the Review Board. Or he can respond in writing within 30 days. The notification from the Commission also specifies that they consider the Pocahontas County PSD to be the alleged injured party. Therefore, Litsey should not use the PSD Attorney and/or law firm to represent him in this matter.