W.Va. officials’ images scrubbed from state websites

A column by Phil Kabler, statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Reaction to the Ethics Commission’s mandate to scale back public officials’ self-promotion on official websites has been swift.

The Department of Agriculture was one of the first state agencies to comply with the recent mandate to remove excessive numbers of photos of public officials from official state agency websites in light of the Commission’s ruling interpreting the new “trinkets” law ban on excessive self-promotion to limit officials’ photographs to their websites’ home page and any biographical page.

Spokesman Butch Antolini said the department has removed Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick’s picture from the department’s Twitter home page, replacing him with the state seal.

Helmick’s photo is also gone from department press releases, Antolini said, while staffers are at work on scaling back his photos on the department’s website, to comply with the commission’s edict.

Also gone is a life-size cardboard cutout of Helmick that had greeted visitors entering the main Capitol on the California Avenue side…

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