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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

UP: To outgoing Parkersburg Development Director Rickie Yeager, who has accepted a position to keep doing his good work in Morgantown. According to Mayor Tom Joyce, Yeager has been part of the realization of more than $150 million in investments in the city, working with employers such as Hino and Coldwater Creek. He was also part of the formation of Downtown PKB and the renovation of the City Park pool and addition of the splash pad. “His leadership within the development office was excellent, and his expertise and vision will be missed,” said Joyce. It certainly will. Thank you, sir, for all you’ve done for the city.

UP: To Wood County Sheriff’s Department K9 Drago, who has been named K9 of the Year by Protecting K9 Heroes. Drago, who is a fantastic ambassador for the department, received the most likes in a Facebook contest. His prize money will go into the K9 fund at the department, but we hope he will get to enjoy the assortment of toys that also comes with the win. “I think his personality kind of wins people over,” said Drago’s partner, Deputy T.K. Phillips. “And he’s not bad looking either.”

DOWN: To the state Higher Education Policy Commission for failing to follow the competitive bidding process when it awarded an improper contract with former chancellor Paul Hill, during Hill’s six-month sabbatical in 2018, according to the Legislature’s Post Audit Division. “It is the opinion of the Legislative Auditor that HEPC entered into a contract for consulting services with former Chancellor Dr. Hill that was categorized as a sabbatical,” the report said. And that contract, “incurred expenses beyond what would typically be incurred.” The audit also says Hill was treated as a state employee rather than a contractor, and was improperly paid benefits. The report notes this incident appears to violate several provisions of state code, and that there seems to have been no benefit to the state in the arrangement. Surely nonsense like this is precisely what lawmakers hope to clean up as they look for that $25 million in cost cutting mentioned by Gov. Jim Justice last week.

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