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Keeley to decide on commission job

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Tom Keeley, who has been nominated to head the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, plans to announce if he'll stay on as Harrison County Commissioner during a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The meeting will be held in the county commission office, Keeley said.

Meanwhile, the West Virginia Ethics Commission stated in a letter to the 20-year county commissioner that there is no problem with him holding both positions.

"Before I make a decision, I want a chance to become familiar with the ABC," Keeley said Tuesday. "I'll do whatever is in the best interest of the people of Harrison County.

"I don't like the idea of stepping down in mid-term, but I will if I have to."

Keeley has four years left on his current term.

If he resigns, commissioners Beth Taylor and Roger Diaz each will nominate a replacement. The chief circuit judge then will draw one name out of a hat, Taylor said.

That person will serve until a special election can be scheduled, she said.

Keeley was nominated for the state job Friday. The Ethics Commission letter to Keeley is dated Jan. 5, the day he was nominated by Wise.

"It is my opinion, and that of the Ethics Commission's attorney, that no provision of the Ethics Act would prevent you from serving simultaneously in both positions," Ethics Commission Executive Director Richard Alker stated in the letter.

" your continued public service as county commissioner, while serving as state ABCC commissioner, would be entirely consistent with the provisions of the Ethics Act," the letter concludes.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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