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W.Va. high court cites Sunshine Law in Nicholas case

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a Nicholas County Circuit Court decision that annulled and vacated the position of Nicholas County administrator in 2014, citing violations of the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act, or the Sunshine Law, and the West Virginia Governmental Ethics Act.

The June 12 ruling also rescinded the August 2013 hiring of Roger Beverage as county administrator by the Nicholas County Commission because of those violations. Beverage had received a $60,000 annual salary, according to court documents, and had reportedly formulated his own job description and set his own salary.

 Tim Clifford, a Nicholas resident, filed the original suit in Nicholas Circuit Court challenging Beverage’s hiring by Nicholas commissioners John Miller and Kenneth Altizer and commission president Dr. Yancy Short. Clifford argued that the three commissioners had changed the form of the commission and county government by creating the position of county administrator.

According to the suit, at an Aug. 6, 2013, meeting, the commissioners informed county department personnel and citizens that they had hired Beverage at $5,000 per month as Nicholas administrator and that the position was temporary and would not include benefits, paid holidays or paid overtime.

They made Beverage’s employment retroactive to Aug. 1, 2013, according to documents.

When citizens questioned why Beverage had been hired without a public meeting, commissioners reported that they were not required by statute to allow for public comment before hiring him….

 

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