Thrasher out as Commerce secretary amid RISE WV problems


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice ousted Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher on Thursday, amid fallout from troubles with a $150 million flood recovery effort housed within Thrasher’s department and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Among the problems with the RISE West Virginia program that might have contributed to Thrasher’s ouster: a combination of procurement issues with a $17 million consulting contract for assistance with the program, reports of confusion and stagnation within the program from flood victims, and a growing discord between Justice’s office and the department.

“I consider [Thrasher] a friend, and he’s done a solid job in the area of economic development,” Justice said in a news release. “Thrasher expressed to me that recent media attention had distracted from what he believed was his core mission, economic development, and business opportunities for West Virginia.

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