A County Board of Education may contract with the superintendent's wife's employer due to the 2002 exception for salaried employees, in W. Va. Code § 61-10-15(e). The superintendent's ministerial actions of signing checks and other non-discretionary routine logistical matters are not enough to bar the contract.
2002-11 County Solid Waste Authority candidate
A County Solid Waste Authority candidate may join the Authority’s Board while it continues to pay off a pre-existing debt owed to the candidate's spouse, so long as there is no modification to the terms of the payoff.
2002-15 County Board of Education
A County Board of Education may buy building materials from a retailer who bought the materials from a BOE member’s employer because the member’s financial interest is fixed and immutable when he makes the sale to the retailer. (But, see Advisory Opinion 2017-11).
2002-17 County School Treasurer
A County Board of Education may buy school supplies from the company that employs the BOE Treasurer’s spouse as a sales representative. Contract provision of the Ethics Act does not apply to spouses, and W. Va. Code § 61-10-15 (e), the salaried employee exception, applies to spouses.
2003-02 County Farmland Protection Board
A County Farmland Protection Board may not contract with a nonprofit business for farmland projects for which the board member's spouse is a subcontractor.
2003-06 County Prosecutor
A County Prosecutor, in most situations, may not sell property to the County Commission under W. Va. Code § 61-10-15. In this non-precedential opinion, the Commission allowed the sale because there was no other option. (Note: In 2006, the Legislature gave the Commission the power to grant contract exemptions under § 61-10-15.) The Ethics Act does not prohibit this sale, subject to proper recusal.
2003-07 County Farmland Protection Board
A County Farmland Protection Board member may participate in a public farmland program in which the participants receive compensation from the Farmland Board to use their private land for agriculture. The member must recuse himself. Opinion limited to the particular facts of that case.
2003-08 County Commission
A County Commission, in most situations, may not buy property from a financial institution on whose board a Commissioner sits. In this non-precedential opinion, the Commission allowed the sale because of the unique nature of the property. (Note: In 2006, the Legislature gave the Commission the power to grant contract exemptions under § 61-10-15.)
2003-15 County Commission
A County Commission may not approve a TIF project when a county commissioner has an interest in a business which owns property in the project area and the spouse of another county commissioner is employed by the business applying for the TIF.
2003-17 Board of Education
A Board of Education may hire a member's spouse as a teacher, pursuant to an exception in the statute.
Board of Education Member
A Board of Education member may work for a private licensed child care center for which the BOE provides pre-kindergarten teachers as part of a collaborative federal program.
2004-08 School Superintendent
School Superintendent has control over all of a school system's financial transactions. He had a de minimis financial interest in the school system's credit union. (non-precedential)
2004-10B Board of Education Member
A County Board of Education member may not work for a multi-county vocational school for three counties where the counties jointly operate the vocational school through a seven-member board which includes a Board Member and School Superintendent from each county.
Board of Education
A Board of Education may not buy crushed stone from a company owned by a member's spouse and brother-in-law. While the revenues from potential sales to the BOE represent a limited percentage of the total revenues of the company, they are still more than de minimis.
A County Prosecutor, in most situations, may not sell property to the County Commission under W. Va. Code § 61-10-15. In this non-precedential opinion, the Commission allowed the sale because there was no other option. (Note: In 2006, the Legislature gave the Commission the power to grant contract exemptions.)
2004-16 County Commissioner
A County Commissioner may not obtain a loan for his small business through the multi-county economic development authority. (But, see
Advisory Opinion 2021-11, holding that a city council member may apply for a grant for economic development available to the public under some circumstances).
Board of Education
A Board of Education does not have voice, influence, or control over its contracts when it is under the control of the State Department of Education. The BOE member qualifies for the exception in W. Va. Code § 61-10-15(e) applicable to a salaried employee of a vendor, and therefore, may work for a contractor for nursing services.
2004-21 County Emergency Board
A County Emergency Board may not employ a board member.
Public Service District
A Public Service District may not, under W. Va. Code § 61-10-15, renegotiate a loan from a bank whose president serves on the PSD. (The part-time appointed exception under the Ethics Act applies to PSD members).
2005-03 County Board of Education Member
Board Member may serve as volunteer coach for $1 annually
2005-13 County Prosecuting Attorney
Part-time Prosecuting Attorney may not be employed to perform additional legal work for county under grant administered by County Commission
2005-18 County Board of Education Member
May fill competitive position as part-time assistant athletic coach if he declines compensation other than $1 annually
2006-12 County Board of Education Member
May be employed to conduct educational testing by contractor working for federal Department of Education where no county funds involved
2006-15 County Solid Waste Authority
Where Board Member has exclusive tariff from PSC to haul waste in county, Board may contract with Member to haul waste it collects
2006-16 County Board of Education
May not contract with Superintendent’s spouse to provide specialized training to teachers
2007-03 County Assessor
Marriage to employee who works in Assessor’s Office will result in prohibited interest in spouse’s employment contract
2007-08 Public School Teacher
May enter into vending services contract with school system by which he is employed
2008-10 County Commissioner
Contract between Commissioner's business and County Airport Authority which was approved prior to Commissioner's election may remain in effect; Commissioner may not serve on Airport authority
Commissioner may not vote on appointments to Airport authority.
2009-01 County Commissioner/Spouse
Spouse may not be employed by County Hospital. Appointment power of county commissioner constitutes voice, influence, or control over county hospital (overruled by statute)
Ethics Commission lacks authority to grant exemption to employ spouse except for positions expressly included in § 61-10-15.
2009-05 Prosecuting Attorney
May not contract with local extension service agency because he exercises voice, influence or control over extension agency contracts.
2009-11 Board of Education / Assistant Principal
An Assistant Principal is subject to the prohibitions in § 61-10-15 due to his voice, influence, or control over subject BOE contract affecting his school by virtue of his responsibility to oversee all school activities at his school. BOE may not contract with Assistant Principal's private business to provide after-school driver's education program to County students.
2010-03 County Board of Education Candidate
Spouse of county BOE member may be employed as Chief mechanic, a service position that meets exception in § 61-10-15. May not use position to obtain, increase, or promote the interests of spouse as a BOE employee.
2010-04 County Board of Education Member
Board may contract with a private non-profit when one of the Board of Education members sits on the Board of the non-profit so long as the common Board member does not vote on any matters relating to the non-profit and recuses himself from the decision-making process and vote. (This portion overruled by AO 2011-12; common Board member is no longer required to recuse himself, and may vote.)
2010-06 Public Library
Ethics Act's prohibition against interest in public contract does not apply to part-time appointed official.
Board member whose law firm represents library may serve on the board, but must recuse himself from all matters related to the law firm's contract.
• Board member of Public Library created by Special Act of the Legislature and joint venture of county and city entities not subject to § 61-10-15.
2010-10 County Authority
Ethics Act does not prohibit part time appointed officials from bidding at auction on items sold by Board on which they serve, so long as they recuse themselves from all related matters; but § 61-10-15 prohibits part time appointed officials from bidding at auction on items sold by Board on which they serve.
2010-13 County Board of Education Member
• Spouse of County BOE member may be employed as auditor in Central Office, a service position that meets exception in § 61-10-15
• May not use position to obtain, increase or promote the interests of spouse as a BOE employee
• May not vote on matters specific to his wife including raise, renewal of employment contract, or discipline
• May vote on overall budget, but must recuse himself if line item affects wife or all four auditors if BOE specifically addresses any such line item
2010-14 County Board of Education Member
• County BOE may not contract with Member’s fast food restaurant to provide food for special events
• County schools and/or school sports teams may not contract with County BOE Member’s fast food restaurant to provide food for school sports teams using school funds
• County BOE Member’s fast food restaurant may not sponsor fundraisers on behalf of school teams
• County BOE Member’s fast food restaurant may, under certain conditions, sponsor fundraisers on behalf of booster organizations
•County BOE Member’s fast food restaurant may, under certain conditions, sell food to credit union even though BOE provides office space to credit union
County Board of Education Member
- County BOE Member may not be paid to officiate as a sports official in his own county
-County BOE Member may volunteer as a referee and receive $1 to obtain insurance coverage
2010-16 County Board of Education Member
•County BOE Member may contract with State Department of Education for online teaching even though some teachers from her county may participate.
• Subject contract with State, not County BOE, and thus Member lacks control over contract
County BOE Member lacks control over County BOE’s reimbursement of county teachers’ expenses incurred in taking Member’s online course
2010-20 Conservation Districts
•May not spend public funds (in excess of $1,000) to construct project on an Elected Board Member’s property, absent a contract exemption.
• Public contract provision in Ethics Act contains no exception for part-time elected officials.
• Not subject to the prohibitions of West Virginia Code § 61-10-15.
2010-21 - County Board of Education
• Ethics Act does not prohibit contract with a private club in which an Elected Board Member and Treasurer own less than five percent of the outstanding shares of stock.
• May not contract with a private club in which an Elected Board Member, Treasurer and spouse of the Superintendent own stock, absent a contract exemption, due to the prohibitions of West Virginia Code § 61-10-15.
• May not contract with a business with which public officials or their spouses serve as a director, pursuant to the Ethics Act.
2010-24 Board of Education
• May purchase property owned, in part, by a Sheriff’s Chief Tax Deputy.
• Chief Tax Deputy does not exercise control over BOE contracts.
• Chief Tax Deputy not subject to § 61-10-15 since position is neither statutorily created nor does she take an oath of office.
• May not purchase property owned, in part, by a part-time Assistant Prosecutor, absent contract exemption due to the prohibitions of West Virginia Code § 61-10-15.
• Assistant Prosecutor exercises control over BOE contracts by providing legal representation. Assistant prosecutor meets the “part-time appointed public official” exception to the Ethics Act’s public contract limitation.
• Assistant Prosecutor is a public official for purposes of § 61-10-15 since position is statutorily created and he takes an oath of office.
•Assistant Prosecutor exercises voice, influence, or control over BOE contracts.
2011-01 County Council Member
•County Council Member’s business may appraise estates so long she recuses herself from any matters coming before the County Council involving the probate of any estate her business has appraised. County Council Member’s business may not appraise any estates over which the Sheriff has been appointed by the County Council as the administrator. County Council Member’s business should be removed from the Fiduciary Supervisor’s list of available appraisers.
•County Council Member may not appear, as a representative or witness, before the Council, either about the appraised value, or the amount of her compensation.
•County Council Member may not accept protected persons from the Sheriff for placement in her nursing home, absent a contract exemption for the Sheriff.
2011-02 County Council Member
County Council Member’s business may contract with a multi-county Conservation District under the following circumstances:
(1) the contract is let via a sealed bid process;
(2) the project is not funded by County money;
(3) the project is not the subject of an agreement between the District and the County including any agreement for flood control as authorized by W.Va. Code § 19-21A-13 ; and
(4) the affected Member recuses himself from the District’s appropriation request or any request for funding.
Opinion does not authorize the employment of County Commissioners or County Council Members, their spouses or dependents, by Conservation Districts in the County where they serve.
2011-03 County Hospital
County Hospital, whose members are appointed by the County Commission, may modify an existing contract with a city-owned hospital that employs a County Commissioner. The County Commission does not have direct authority or control over the contract; neither the County Commission nor the County Hospital appoints the members of the city-owned hospital’s board of trustees or appropriate money to the city-owned hospital. The County Commissioner may not use his position to influence the award of the contract. If a matter relating to the subject contract comes before the County Commission, the County Commissioner/city-owned hospital employee should recuse himself from voting.
2011-10 County Board of Education (BOE)
• Spouse of county BOE Superintendent may not be employed as Director of Student Services, a prohibited administrative position under W. Va. Code § 61-10-15.
• Spouse of county BOE Superintendent may be employed as School Psychologist, a position that meets the exception in W. Va. Code § 61-10-15.
• Spouse of county BOE Superintendent may be continue to be physically located in the central office without violating W. Va. Code § 61-10-15. The nature of the work performed, not location, is outcome determinative.
• Superintendent may not use position to obtain, increase or promote the interests of spouse as a BOE employee.
2011-20 An Elected County Commissioner
•May purchase tax liens at a Sheriff's sale or through the State Auditor's Office, or both, when County Commission had no direct involvement in the assessment of the property.
•May not purchase a tax lien on property for which the owner requested adjustment of assessed value or other relief from County Commission sitting as the board of equalization and review.
2012-02 County Commissioner
• Ethics Act does not prohibit County from purchasing property from real estate business with which a County Commissioner is associated, with limitations: Commissioner may not use his position to influence purchase of the property; specifically, he may not communicate with fellow County Commissioners, or Members or staff of the Building Commission, on matters relating to the property.
• No prohibited financial interest where neither Commissioner nor his immediate family members have ownership interest in property County Commission seeks to purchase from real estate business with which he is associated.
• No prohibited financial interest where Commissioner is not: a director or officer; the listing agent for the property; or, entitled to receive any commission from the sale of the property.
• County Commissioner associated with real estate business selling property to County meets statutory exemption so long as he recuses himself. (See Voting)
• County Commissioner associated with real estate business selling property to County must recuse himself from all matters related thereto.
2012-03 County Agency
• Ethics Act does not prohibit County Agency from employing Supervisor’s son, even though they live in the same house, so long as the Supervisor is completely removed from the hiring process.
• Ethics Act does not prohibit County Agency from employing Supervisor’s son even though they live in the same house.
Supervisor employed by County Agency is not a county officer and therefore is not subject to provisions of W. Va. Code § 61-10-15.
• General rule: Public servant should not supervise a relative.
• Supervisor employed by County Agency may supervise son on emergency calls and while in the field.
2012-11 County Commissioner
Ethics Act permits living with county employee so long as nepotism rules followed.
W. Va. Code § 61-10-15 prohibits living with county employee even if nepotism rules followed and/or even if employee transferred to another county office.
2012-12 Local Board of Health
• Board of Health’s part-time appointed Health Officer may accept patient referrals from the Health Department so long as s/he does not make, participate in making, or in any way attempt to use his or her office or employment to influence a government decision affecting his or her financial or limited financial interest.
• Full-time health officer may not contract with own Board of Health unless Board seeks and receives advice or a contract exemption from Ethics Commission.
• Local Board of Health formed by a county and a municipality not subject to strict provisions of § 61-10-15.
County Boards of Health are subject to strict provisions of § 61-10-15; their health officers (part time and full-time) may not contract with own Board of Health unless Board seeks and receives advice or a contract exemption from Ethics Commission.
2012-13 Member of a County Board of Education (BOE)
• May contract with a public university to supervise university students during their placement in public schools in the county where he serves so long as he does not use any public resources, including BOE staff, to perform his private contractual duties.
• Agreement between public university and BOE not a public contract.
2012-16 County Commission
Prohibited from purchasing private property from appointed member of County Building Commission.
Purchase of property from appointed member creates impermissible conflict and a prohibited interest in a public contract.
May seek Contract Exemption if it believes the property is only viable option.
2012-26 Candidate for County Commission
• Spouse may not remain employed with County Clerk’s office or by any other county office or agency if Candidate becomes county commissioner.
• Spousal exemption created by § 61-10-15 (l):
• does not extend to persons elected to office whose spouses are already employed by County government or County school system
• only extends to certain spouses who were employed by county prior to their marriage to a county official.
2012-28 Candidate for Prosecuting Attorney
If Requester is elected Prosecuting Attorney, spouse may not continue her employment with the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
Requester’s spouse may be employed by another county office or agency so long as she is chosen for such a position based on her experience and qualifications, not based on favoritism to the Requester.
2012-32 State Legislator and County BOE Bus Operator
• May contract with Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) provided he: does not use his public position to obtain unfair advantage in securing contract; does not use his public position to gain unfair advantage for the RESA by which he is employed; and does not get paid during Legislative • Session if he does not perform his contractual duties.
• May contract with RESA as Bus Operator exercises no control over contract.
• Must perform RESA duties on his own time; not during BOE work hours.
• May be required to file verified time records with Ethics Commission if RESA duties performed during regularly scheduled BOE work hours.
2012-41 County Board of Health
Licensed septic tank cleaner may serve on County Board of Health. Application to County Board of Health for tri-annual license does not constitute appearing before agency on which he serves for purposes of contesting issuance of license or permit.
2012-42 Conservation District
• May award $500 scholarship per calendar year to District supervisor’s child so long as District supervisor recuses him/herself from all participation in selection of scholarship participants, leaves the room during discussion and decision-making period, and fully discloses his or her interests.
• District supervisor may not informally “lobby” or otherwise attempt to influence voting members of, or other decision-makers in, the government agency to select his/her child.
2012-45 County Attorney
• Has direct authority or control over County’s public contracts contemplated by W. Va. Code § 6B-2-5(d).
• Has “voice” and “influence” over all County contracts for purposes of W. Va. Code § 61-10-15.
• Position not “county office”, so not subject to W. Va. Code § 61-10-15.
• May not receive additional pay for serving as project coordinator for County Building Commission, absent a contract exemption.
2013-08 County Prosecutor
• Ethics Act does not prohibit spouse’s employment as school nurse in same county.
• County Prosecutor has voice, influence, and control over Board of Education contracts.
• Spouse of a County Prosecutor may work as school nurse in same county since position is considered a teacher for purposes of § 61-10-15.
2013-13 County Commissioner
Unless it obtains a contract exemption, County Commission prohibited from leasing its marina to business partner of a County Commissioner, even when such marina is unrelated to the partnership.
2013-15 County Law Enforcement Officer
• Unless it obtains a contract exemption, a County Commission may not pay the Chief Deputy any additional compensation for performing duties of 911 Director given the overlap between law enforcement duties and responsibilities of 911 Director. This would constitute impermissible compensation for performance of customary duties in violation of §6B-2-5(b).
• §61-10-15 also prohibits the Chief Deputy from accepting additional compensation as 911 Director, because a law enforcement deputy sheriff or chief enforcement deputy, is a public official with voice, influence, or control over the new 911 Director contract.
2013-17 Executive Director of Multi-County Regional Governmental Agency
The Executive director of a multi-county Regional Government Agency may redeem reward points and give subordinate employees the benefit thereof, so long as the expenditure on any one employee does not exceed $100 and the total amount for the fiscal year does not exceed the sum of $25 per employee. (If reward points are redeemed to recognize employees, then no public funds may be expended for such recognition during the same year.)
2014-23 Board of Education
Board of Education (BOE) employees and retirees and their spouses may serve as county commissioners and may vote on funding requests made by the BOE.
2014-24 County Economic Development Authority
Executive director of county economic development authority (EDA) may be employed by the EDA and serve as a member of the board of the county public service district.
2014-25 County Economic Development Authority
Board member of county economic development authority (EDA) may serve as a common board member to both the EDA and public service district (PSD), and the Requester may vote on any matters between the EDA and the PSD.
2015-15 Board of Education
W. Va. Code § 61-10-15 prohibits a County Board of Education from employing the Superintendent’s spouse as a literacy coach.
2015-16 County Building Commission Member
A County Building Commission member may purchase and develop property owned and managed by a County Urban Renewal Authority without violating W. Va. Code §§ 6B-2-5(d)(1), 6B-2-5(b) or 61-10-15.
2016-08 County Commission
W. Va. Code § 61-10-15 prohibits a county commission from leasing office space in a county building to an appointed assistant prosecuting attorney.
2016-12 County Prosecutor
A County Prosecutor does not have a prohibited financial or pecuniary interest in his mother-in-law’s building’s sales agreement; therefore, the purchase of the building by the County Commission is permissible under W.Va. Code § 6B-2-5(d) and W.Va. Code § 61-10-15.
The Prosecutor-elect, upon becoming Prosecutor, may not consider hiring the outgoing former Prosecutor to serve as a special prosecutor in a position funded by a grant the former Prosecutor assisted the county and a local nonprofit organization in obtaining.
2017-02 County Commissioner
W.Va. Code §61-10-15 prohibits Commissioner’s company from submitting bids to provide contractors with materials for a Parks and Recreation Commission project.
• Commissioner has an indirect pecuniary interest in contract when his/her financial interest is directly tied to whether customers of his/her company are able to secure the contract.
W .Va. Code § 61-10-15 also prohibits the company from directly contracting to provide materials to the county public service district.2017-04 A Candidate for County Commission
W.Va. Code § 61-10-15 prohibits a candidate for county commission, if elected, from continuing to be employed by a public library to which the county commission provides funding. The commission’s appropriation to the library constitutes approximately 7 percent of the library’s budget which, for purposes of § 61-10-15, constitutes the exercise of voice, influence and control over the library’s contracts. 2017-10 A County Commissioner's Company
A County Commissioner’s company may sell construction materials and supplies to county contractors to use on non-county projects.2017-11 A County Commissioner
A County Commissioner may not knowingly sell his products to contractors or subcontractors to use for county projects. The Requester’s staff is not required to ask all customers what the final disposition of the materials purchased will be but, instead, the Requester must take reasonable precautions to ensure that his products are not sold to county contractors or subcontractors to use for county construction projects. 2017-12 A County Commissioner
Neither the Ethics Act nor W.Va. Code § 61-10-15 prohibits an employee or board member of a county parks board from being employed by a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (“CVB”) or serving on a CVB board even if the parks board provides some in-kind support to the CVB. A parks board member who is also employed by the CVB may not vote on the appropriations of money or the awarding of a contract to the CVB.
May vote on county contract with a contractor who is also a customer of the Commissioner’s construction supply business when the contractor does not use the Commissioner’s supplies on county projects because he lacks a prohibited financial interest in these county contracts.2017-15 Board of Education Member
W. Va. Code § 61-10-15 prohibits a board of education from contracting with a business that leases commercial property from a company owned by a board of education member’s spouse.2018-05 Potential Board of Education Member
A BOE member would not have sufficient voice, influence, or control over her employment contract with WVU Extension Service to prohibit serving as a Board of Education member, if elected, given the BOE’s limited appropriations to WVU Extension Services and the Requester’s lack of power to make appointments to her local extension service committee.2018-10 Board of Education Member
A BOE member may continue to be employed by a staffing agency to perform work for a textbook company in other counties when that company markets textbooks and educational materials to the BOE member’s Board of Education. The BOE member meets the exemption provided to public officials who are employees of a vendor or supplier under W. Va. Code § 61-10-15(e).
• May appoint three County Commissioners to serve as three of five members of a Parks and Recreation Authority, a subunit of county government.
• Should consult with its attorney on whether other laws permit proposed self-appointment, especially when enabling legislation does not specifically authorize self-appointments.
• County Commissioners do not have prohibited financial interest and may vote on matters affecting the Parks and Recreation Authority.
• May not appoint one of its own members to a County Emergency Services Authority when that member would receive more than nominal compensation for serving on the Authority.
• Opinion does not apply to situations where the law expressly requires a County Commissioner to serve on a board.2019-12 Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Is prohibited from privately contracting with the Board of Education in the same county to provide legal services because a part-time assistant prosecutor may have voice, influence or control over the contracts of the Board of Education as required by the duties of his office.
2021-13 A County Board of Education Member
A County Commissioner
The County Commissioner may not be employed by a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (“CVB”) because a County Commission has some voice, influence, or control over the amount of its hotel tax revenues that the CVB receives, and the County Commission appropriated approximately 43 percent of the CVB’s budget.
A county board of education member may be employed as a teacher by a private, nonprofit school which contracts with the BOE to provide educational and behavioral health services to students in the County School System due to a five-part exception in W. Va. Code § 61-10-15. Discusses the rules on voting on the BOE budget as it relates to the nonprofit school and the prohibition on voting on invoice payments to the nonprofit school.
2021-18 Community and Technical College President
A county commissioner may be employed by a community and technical college because the county commission does not appoint the college’s board members or appropriate money to it.
A BOE member may vote on matters affecting a customer of his private construction business when the member is not associated with the business of the customer and does not have a direct and immediate financial interest in the matter. (partially overrules Advisory Opinions 2005-12 and 2012-07)
A county commissioner does not have a financial interest in a TIF district by virtue of his employment by a business that has financial ties to the corporation requesting the TIF, and he may vote on the TIF application.
A municipal judge may serve on the county commission in the same county as the municipality because the County Commission does not appoint Town officials or employees or appropriate money to the Town.
County Board of Education Member
A County Board of Education Member, who is a physician, may not be paid to perform mandatory physical examinations for school bus drivers in the County even though the bus drivers choose their physicians. The BOE member may perform the physical exams in the County for free. She may be paid to perform physical exams for bus drivers employed in another county.
A County Commissioner may be employed as the operations manager for a nonprofit county rescue squad because the County Commission does not appropriate money to the rescue squad and only appoints one of its nine members.