2002-08 County Board of Education member
A County Board of Education member may bid on a BOE contract after her term expires but may not use confidential information to her advantage. Revolving door and prohibited representation provisions are not applicable.
A Mayor may be temporarily employed by the city as the city manager. Mayor has a clear financial interest in the matter, so his recusal is required.
2006-03 State Administrative Law Judge (h)
May not represent individuals he regulates while engaging in part-time private law practice
2009-07 County Commissioner (g)
• County Commissioner, a private attorney, may prepare wills, but must fully recuse himself from County Commission's probate thereof;
• County Commissioner may not appear in a representative capacity in any probate proceeding before the County Commission, even if uncontested;
• County Commissioner may testify as witness to will's validity before County Commission but must recuse himself from decision-making on any such will.
2009-10 State Employee (h)
A State employee whose employer has accreditation oversight of institutions of higher education may be compensated for teaching a course at a public university so long as he
• Notifies his supervisor;
• Has his work relating to the accreditation of the public university as part of his doctoral program reviewed by his supervisor and his employing Agency's Review Board;
• Prepares for and teaches the course on his own time;
• Does not use any public resources
2011-04 Per Diem Legislative Attorney
• Per Diem Legislative Attorney, who is not, on July 1, 2011, a Legislative employee as defined by the IRS, is not subject to revolving door prohibition.
• Independent contractors are not covered by the Ethics Act.
2011-14 Candidate for County Assessor
• May not continue career as owner and broker of real estate business within county where he will serve, if elected.
• May continue career as owner and broker of real estate business in other counties so long as he does not: use his official position in any way that would give him an advantage; conduct his business on county time; or use county resources (including staff) to conduct his private real estate business.
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.
2012-04 Attorney for Municipal Water Board--Overruled, in part, by AO 2016-04.
• General Rule: Ethics Act does not prohibit Chairperson of Municipal Water Board from being employed by Board after resigning as Chairperson.
• Job description so narrowly tailored that only Board’s Chairperson qualifies fails to satisfy requirements of nepotism guidelines.
• When a public body knows in advance that one of its preferred candidates is a relative, close friend, or fellow member of the public body, public body must follow the Commission’s nepotism guidelines.
• may not use public resources for the benefit of his private business;
• may not use subordinate staff to perform work associated with his private business while the subordinates are on the government time clock;
• may not solicit private business from subordinates;
• may not distribute promotional materials concerning his private business from his office and/or in City/Town Hall;
• may not have an interest in a public contract, with certain exceptions;
• must recuse himself when a current customer appears before Council; and
• must recuse himself from: drafting bid specifications or requests for proposals;
• recommending selection of the vendor; and/or
approving the method or manner of payment to the vendor; and
when serving as municipal judge, must:
• if customer within past six months appears, disclose the fact thereof and recuse himself if either party requests; and
• recuse himself from cases involving customers within the past six months.
2012-17 Presiding Officer of a house of West Virginia Legislature
• May not be retained to provide legal services to an Association which is actively engaged in lobbying Legislature on behalf of its members who are public employees.
• Proposed employment contract presents an inescapable conflict, given the unique position held and power wielded by the presiding officer.
• Access to confidential information may have chilling effect on other legislators, if proposed employment contract permitted.
• Public may perceive that Association has hired him because of his unique ability to influence legislation.
• Other Associations that do not employee a high ranking member of the Legislature may believe that they are at a disadvantage in the legislative process.
• Opinion limited to Presiding Officers of houses of West Virginia Legislature.
2012-18 Registered Lobbyist
• Not required to register as lobbyist on behalf of client who retained her to provide advice on State procurement process and to serve as a liaison to a State Agency during client’s efforts to successfully bid on State contract.
• Statutory definition of “lobbying” excludes procurement lobbying.
• Required to register only if she communicates with State Officials or Members of the Legislature in regard to the passage or defeat of Legislation or Rules on client’s behalf.
2012-19 Member of the Legislature
• May be retained to provide consulting services to Public University during and after his term of office.
• Conflict of interest cured by his removal from potentially overlapping committees.
Must consult with Presiding Officer of his house and abide by appropriate legislative voting rule.
• May not use influence of legislative position to attempt to affect the actions of University personnel to enhance his contractual benefits; introduce, sponsor or advocate legislation to benefit the University in any way; influence either the State’s distribution of federal grant money or State funds to the University for any purpose, not just those related to his consulting contract; or influence the appropriation of public funds to benefit the University in any way.
2012-36 State Employee
• May contract with State of West Virginia to compile official papers of former Governor.
• Does not have control over contract.
• Does not have access to confidential information related to contract award.
• May not use public resources, including Requester’s own time and subordinate staff, to perform the duties of the contract.
2012-48 State Licensing Board
• May not hire candidate for executive director when candidate rents from Board Member who is also subject to the Board’s regulation.
• Although candidate received property exemption to lease from Board Member, its terms require him and his subordinates to be removed from all matters affecting Board Member.
• Impossible for candidate to comply with requirements of property exemption due to Board’s small staff, administrative structure, and business relationship between candidate and Board Member
2013-02 County Board of Education
• School coach may privately employ School Principal.
• Principal may not evaluate coach who is his private employer, nor make recommendations to BOE concerning his subordinate employee/employer.
• Assistant Principal may evaluate coach so long as Superintendent or designee, who is not Principal’s subordinate, reviews evaluation.
• Prohibition against direct solicitation of business from subordinate relates to commercial transactions such as sale of goods or services, not employment.
2013-04 County Commission
• Performing multiple job functions for same County Employer does not constitute illegal “double dipping.”
• The source of funding for multiple jobs with same County Employer does not affect determination.
• Ethics Act does not require separate time keeping for each job function.
2013-05 County Assessor
• May not work for property owners or businesses within same county in which s/he is Assessor, due to regulatory control over all property owners and businesses within county.
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.
2013-21 County Commission
• A County Commission may not employ a private attorney for civil matters (as employee, or on a contract basis) if that attorney maintains a private criminal defense practice in the same county.
• Regardless of the lack of involvement in setting the budget for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, an inescapable conflict is created in serving both positions simultaneously, such that both positions of attorney for county commission and private criminal defense attorney in same county, may not be held.
2013-37 Civil Service Board Member
• A Civil Service Board member may not sit on the board while he/she is employed by the Sheriff. The board member’s recusal is not appropriate. The board member may only continue sitting on the Civil Service Board if he/she resigns from employment with the Sheriff.
• Employment by a public agency constitutes a personal financial interest which prohibits a public employee from voting on matters which affect his/her employer. On the Civil Service board, this board member would be required to investigate the sheriff’s office and his/her coworkers, as well as review tests/training certifications to determine promotions, and judge propriety of disciplinary action; all of which equate to prohibited financial interests. (Overruled by 2013-47.)
2013-34 Sheriff's Tax Deputy
• A Sheriff’s Tax Deputy may provide security services to residents and law enforcement throughout the state through a limited liability company with some exceptions.
• The Sheriff’s Tax Deputy is prohibited from charging fees for any goods or services that he or the LLC provides to any government agencies within the county which he/she serves. He/she may not use more than a de minimis amount of public resources for private purposes.
• WV Code § 6B-2-5(o) states there may be no solicitation of private business from subordinate public officials or public employees whom he/she has authority to direct, supervise or control.
• The Sheriff’s Tax Deputy must recuse himself/herself from handling delinquent taxpayer accounts for current or prospective customers of his/her private business.
2013-35 Housing Authority Inspector/Mayor
• A Housing Authority may continue to employ a part time inspector who was recently elected Mayor of a nearby town, with limitations.
• The Mayor must recuse himself/herself from any matters regarding his Housing Authority employer.
• If the Mayor also serves as Municipal Judge, additional care must be taken when citizens under his/her authority as housing inspector appear in municipal court. He/she must disclose the conflict, and if requested by either party, must recuse himself/herself. The Mayor will also be prohibited from presiding as municipal judge when he/she performed a housing inspection for a party within the last six months.
2013-41 County Employee
• A county employee may not serve on County Commission while employed full time by the County Ambulance Authority.
• W.Va. Code §61-10-15 prohibits county officials from having an interest in public contracts. The County Commission appoints all members of the County Ambulance Authority and has authority to make contributions to the ambulance authority from general funds. If elected, the county employee would have voice, influence or control over the County Ambulance Authority who has control over his/her employment, via the Authority’s Executive Director.
2013-42 County Employee
A County Geographic Information System Coordinator is not prohibited from contracting to perform similar work on behalf of municipality because he makes no regulatory or policy recommendations to either the county or municipality. Some limitations apply: Municipal work must be on his/her own time, using private resources; he/she may not use county staff for private work.
2013-48 State Agency Employees
A state agency may not allow its death investigators to provide contract services to the county as County Medical Examiners. Investigators would have a conflict of interest as they would be in the position of awarding contracts to one another. If this state agency is unable to find qualified candidates, it may seek a contract exemption from the Ethics Commission.
2013-54 State Agency Employee
Staff attorneys for a State Agency may serve as Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys. The salary for the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney was not paid by the county Prosecutor’s Office, but by the State Agency. Therefore there is no prohibited private gain and the use of acquired information does not constitute knowing and improper disclosure.
2014-04 Assistant Park Superintendent
May serve at the same park where his/her brother has a contract to operate its marina, with limitations. A third party must investigate complaints and report these to his/her supervisor. Assistant Park Superintendent should not inspect the concessions or initiate corrective action, but should either assign another employee to do so, or do so along with another non-subordinate employee.
Prohibition against interest in public contract is limited to “immediate family members” based on the inherent financial relationships between spouses who live together, as well as dependent children, grandchildren, and parents. By contrast, an adult sibling is not presumptively financially dependent on another sibling. Therefore, the contract between Assistant Park Superintendent’s brother and the state agency is not prohibited under W.Va. Code § 6B-2-5(d).
2014-19 State Regulatory Agency
May employ someone who owns stock in a regulated company, and whose spouse is employed in the regulated industry, as its Division Director. Where stock ownership was less than 5%, the director would file Financial Disclosure Statements, would have no authority over contracts, and regulation would be pursuant to statutory formula, employment was permissible. Such employment is not prohibited under revolving door rules, nor would such employment create an inescapable conflict.
2014-22 State Death Investigator
State death investigator may provide services to his State agency when a co-worker selects him by strict adherence to the rotation list without subjective input and favoritism by the co-worker.
2014-26 Sheriff's Tax Deputy
A Sheriff’s Tax Deputy may operate a business in the evenings and on the weekends which would provide county taxpayers the ability to pay their taxes early, a service the Sheriff’s Office does not perform.
Legislator may continue his employment during the Legislative session as an attorney with a company that employs registered lobbyists when the legal services he provides are unrelated to the company’s lobbying activities.
2015-02 Legislative Attorney
Legislative attorney may register as a lobbyist after the termination of his employment with the Legislature without being subject to the one-year waiting period subsequent to the termination of public employment or service.
2015-03 State Employees
State employee who is charged with oversight of safety and training for a statewide industry may offer private safety classes to individuals because his public duties are not regulatory, but ministerial.
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.
2015-18 State Employee
A state employee may accept a $2,000 award, a plaque and travel reimbursements.” Prohibition against receiving private compensation for performing public job is inapplicable.
A city may continue to employ its mayor as city administrator. The city may not show favoritism or give special treatment in making employment or personnel decisions affecting the mayor in his capacity as city administrator. The mayor must recuse himself from the vote and deliberation on personnel matters which directly affect him.
The Ethics Commission overrules AO 2006-05 and AO 2012-04, in part.
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.
2018-06 Fire Chief
A deputy fire marshal may lease and operate a private club that is subject to the City’s fire code as long as neither he nor a subordinate of his inspect or investigate matters concerning the club.
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).
2019-16 Employee of State Agency
A full-time state employee who regulates holders of unclaimed property, such as insurance companies, may moonlight for a private consulting firm whose clients include the same insurance companies he regulates, but on unrelated matters, provided that he does not perform his private services for these insurance companies.
2019-23 County Airport Authority member
No provision of the Ethics Act prohibits a county Airport Authority Board member from continuing his employment with a hotel merely because it uses or benefits from the public services provided by the Authority.
2020-01 State Agency
A state agency’s technician may not provide private services to persons which currently have a “matter” on which the technician or a subordinate is working. Persons whose management practices are being verified for payment by the technician and persons for whom the technician completes ranking forms used to approve program applications constitute “matters” on which the technician is working. Providing routine services in the form of technical assistance and recommendations to individuals on how to install best land management practices do not constitute matters on which the technician is working.
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.
2022-09 County Commissioner
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.