Ethics Commission clears Shipley

The West Virginia Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint filed against Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) Chairman Tom Shipley. PSD board member Amon Tracey filed the complaint in October 2011, which alleged that irregularities took place during a PSD meeting when the board rated engineering firms submitting bids for design work on a Snowshoe-area sewage treatment system.

The Ethics Commission examined the evidence offered by Tracey to determine if a hearing was necessary and ultimately determined that “probable cause does not exist to believe Respondent (Shipley) materially violated any prohibition of the Ethics Act as alleged . . .”

Shipley always maintained that he and the PSD had done nothing wrong during the engineering firm selection process.

“The PSD and our attorney took great pains to ensure the process was fair to all of the engineering firms,” he said. “Mr. Tracey voted to approve the same engineering firm, even though he would later allege there was something wrong with the voting process. It just did not make sense to me and apparently the Ethics Commission concluded the same.”

Shipley’s attorney, Joseph Ferretti, of Martinsburg, added, “Tom is relieved with the decision to dismiss the complaint. Nobody likes to be accused of wrongdoing, especially when there is a lack of any specifics as to what was done wrong. It is a shame a volunteer board member had to incur legal expenses and worry about this for more than a year. Regardless, Mr. Shipley is grateful for this outcome and looks forward to working with his fellow board members towards the goal of serving the PSD constituents and seeing the sewer project completed.”

Tracey filed a similar complaint against PSD board member David Litsey, which was also dismissed by the Ethics Commission.

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