Saturday, August 27, 2005

Weeks Does the Right Thing, Calls for Rescission of Grant, While Bailey Continues Shilling for Bob Graham

William Stewart has a good column on the controversy surrounding $55,000 in Budget Digest funds that went to Bob Graham's controversial Wyoming County Council on Aging.

Both 9th District state senators, Russ Weeks, R-Raleigh, and Billy Wayne Bailey, D-Wyoming, obtained funds for a new roof for the Elk Lick Senior Center. Weeks has requested that the portion of the grant he requested be rescinded because he did not know that the center was part of the Council on Aging.

Bailey, however, has continued to defend the grant and is employed by the Council on Aging. West Virginia Wants to Know filed an ethics complaint against Bailey yesterday for his actions. Bailey narrowly won reelection last year over challenger Jack Fincham, 74.

The Wyoming County Council on Aging became controversial last year after revelations that it was paying its executive director, Bob Graham, approximately $460,000 per year, was employing his relatives, and had a board of directors comprised mostly of very old people who rubber stamped Graham's requests.

The state's six constitutional officers, including the governor, sued Graham in April 2004, seeking to take over operations of his agency.

He had been under investigation for months by the Bureau of Senior Services, which found that in addition to his salary and agency-paid trips to exotic destinations, Graham kept a personal apartment on the upper floor of his Itmann senior center. He also drove a $50,000 car paid for by the agency, took more than two months each year of paid vacation and sick days, and got free health insurance.

Since the investigations began, Graham's salary has been reduced to $99,000 and he has been forced to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses and vacation pay.