Is the good-ole-boys club alive and well in West Virginia? Is political favor for campaign support an acceptable form of cronyism? WVpac.org is not able to make this determination, so we are asking for the public’s opinion.
The recent news that Carlton “Cootsie” DeHaven was given the position to oversee security personnel at the county’s judicial center, possibly in return for the campaign support of the newly elected Sheriff Curtis Keller, confirms the tip submitted to WVpac.Org on February 6th, 2017.
It appears that the somewhat discredited anonymous tip has somehow miraculously come to pass. Okay, who has the crystal ball?
Does the article published by the Herald: Former W.Va. magistrate to oversee courthouse security.. go out of it’s way to acknowledge the appearance of cronyism, while at the same time calmly trying to dismiss the impropriety?
“Also interviewed by Davis and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Scott Wilson for the position were Michael Laing, Gregory Leveling, Scott Paugh and William Wenitsky, Davis said.
Davis said he was aware of DeHaven’s recent election campaign ties with Sheriff Curtis Keller and discussed the circumstances with the council’s attorney out of concern for what the public perception would be.
“I can honestly say there was no pressure brought to bear,” Davis said of his hiring recommendation to the council. Davis said that he concluded DeHaven was the best candidate, and he wasn’t swayed by anyone to hire him.
DeHaven, who has run for sheriff as a Republican and third-party candidate, actively supported Keller, a Democrat in the 2016 general election.”
However, Keller said that the hiring move was not political payback for Cootsie’s campaign support, emphasizing that he wasn’t involved in the process.
Really? Just because Keller ‘says’ he was not ‘involved in the process’ does not mean that the office of Sheriff’s influence was not brought to bear. Not saying that it was, just begs the questions. Does Keller simply stating that he was not involved make it a truism? Should not that important determination be left up to others?
So the question really boils down to this. Does the Sheriff get to pick who the county hires for what positions? It would seem that cronyism IS alive and well in Berkeley County West Virginia, but newly elected Sheriff Keller said it wasn’t, so maybe it wasn’t…
Maybe this was not cronyism at all? Or maybe the person who submitted the anonymous tip DOES have a crystal ball?
What do you think?