CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is working on a deadline. By law, he has just more than a week to appoint the nine people who will make up the newly restructured state Ethics Commission.
“By July 1, those nine new members of the new Ethics Commission will be appointed,” Tomblin said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
In March, the Legislature approved the changes to the Commission’s structure and reduced the number of members. Currently, ten of 12 available seats on the Ethics Commission are filled.
As for the potential new commissioners, “I think there will probably be a mixture of both. Some of the members are recent appointments that I’ve made and they’ve only been there a few months,” Tomblin said.
“I’m looking at those people, all of the people who have sent inquiries that would like to serve and we’ll be able to make those selections within the next week or so.”
Earlier this month, Rebecca Stepto was named interim executive director of the Ethics Commission following the June 5 firing of Joan Parker, the former executive director. Parker took over that role in February of last year and was dismissed with a 5-4 vote. The reasons for her firing have not been made public.
Stepto, a Charleston attorney, was hired as a contract employee for the Ethics Commission in January when questions were raised about the compliance of the Ethics Commission with open meeting requirements.
The Ethics Commission was created in 1989 as an independent, bipartisan board to administer the Ethics Act. The mission is to educate public officials covered by the Act, provide information to the public, interpret and apply the provisions in the Act and enforce its requirements through the investigation and complaint process.