(10/23/2009)
By Bob Weaver

A major increase for wages and services reportedly issued to Spencer engineering firm Boyles and Hildreth by the Mt. Zion Public Service District is under investigation by the three-person board.

The increases are connected to a 21-mile $5.2 million water extension project that would bring service to Calhoun residents.

Some of the increases issued to Boyles for his firm during 2007-08 appeared to exceed 200%, according to documents presented to board members during a meeting held in Arnoldsburg.

At issue is whether or not the board actually voted to give Boyles the increases.

A contractual add-on document has a lengthy list of categories that increased compensation for Hildreth's services, likely resulting in a major compensation increase.

An evaluation of the increased compensation page is being reviewed.

Documents indicate one increase for Hildreth's office staff, from $19 to $30 an hour.

The project has been in disarray since 2008, when the Calhoun Commission discovered that most of the right-of-ways had not been secured, after which the commission assisted the PSD in an intensive effort to obtain the right-of-ways and ready the project for bid.

While county commissions initially appoint PSD board members, they have little authority over their operation, and cannot readily dismiss members or their employees.

Since problems have surfaced and new board member Roscoe Gainer has been appointed, the board appears to be taking a proactive stance in dealing with matters.

Multiple problems have surfaced, mostly linked to the failure of secretary-treasurer Wilma Mace to provide financial records and minutes to the Calhoun Commission.

Another contentious issue is over the letting of bids for the project, now under review by federal officials.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission has been asked to review Mt. Zion PSD problems by the Calhoun Commission. The PSD is now concurring with that investigation.

The project is currently stuck with a review of the PSD's decision to issue contracts for the project, overriding Hildreth's recommendations.

Document (Below) Indicates Fee Increases, Uncertain If Board Approved


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