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WV attorney general bill stuns Tucker County panel

DAVIS, W.Va. — Tucker County Solid Waste Authority board members were stunned when they received a bill for $900 from the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office Tuesday, just before the start of its regular meeting.

Members were advised to contact the AG Office regarding a legal matter to see if they could use the advice of an attorney.

TCSWA board members said they were told they had to use one of the AG attorneys – and he billed them $900 for clarification on one question.

“We received a bill from the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office for work that Mr. Chrislip did for us,” TCSWA Executive Director Steve Moore said. “It is for $900.”

“What did he do?” said TCSWA Board Member Diane Hinkle.

“I guess I misunderstood, but I thought that when they (the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office) appointed an attorney, they are responsible for the billing,” Office Manager Carol Helmick said. “I said if we are going to pay that, then why can’t we get the lawyer we want.”

Hinkle said the bill was for 7.5 hours at $120 per hour.

“Wow,” she said.

TCSWA Board Member Alan Tomson said he thought the bill was insulting.

“That just came in the mail today, and I showed it to Steve,” Helmick said. “I can’t believe this.”

“I think, in particular, for the quality of legal advice we got, which was pretty mediocre, we could have done as much ourselves on the Internet,” Tomson said. “Did they actually send us a letter telling us that is their opinion?”

“No, he sent me an email saying ‘I based my opinion on this’ – something he found on the Internet about state code,” Moore said.

“I understand we need to compensate him for his time, but that seems to be an unreasonable rate and an inordinate amount of time for what we got in return,” Hinkle said.

“The worst thing is, we don’t even have a choice,” Tomson said. “We went there asking to be able to use an attorney specifically, and they came back and denied our request and told us we would have to use one of their attorneys.”

Moore said he would draft a letter to the Attorney General protesting the amount of the bill.

In other business, TCSWA board members reviewed the leachate report, tonnage report, accounts receivable and the check register. The group offered congratulations to Moore, who was celebrating his one-year anniversary with the TCSWA.

The next regular meeting of the Tucker County Solid Waste Authority is scheduled for 3 p.m. July 19.

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