Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 8, 2013

Commissioner: Ridgeley mayor under a ‘strict no travel order’

Twigg under investigation

RIDGELEY, W.Va. — Ridgeley City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday that Mayor Jim Twigg should pay his own travel expenses with no reimbursements after learning that he requested Town Clerk Rene Martz book him a room and sign him up for a class.

“The mayor is under a strict no travel order,” said Tom Hedrick, finance commissioner, who was filling in as acting mayor.

Twigg is under investigation for a misuse of a government-issued credit card, known as a “P-card.”

Martz said she emails the state auditor every day to check on the status of the Ridgeley audit and that it has yet to be completed.

“It’s in Charleston for the final report,” said Martz.

Once the audit is received, a copy of it will be provided to the town and it will be posted online, according to Martz.

Resident Bill Shepherd asked, “Whether it’s $400 or $4,000, regardless: can we get (Twigg) out of the office?”

The only way Twigg can be removed from office is if the state ethics commission gets involved or he is indicted, according to Hedrick. Twigg wasn’t included on the most recent list on the January 2013 term of grand jury indictments provided by the Mineral County Prosecutor’s Office.

“If he has an ethics violation, then he is no longer permitted to run for office,” said Hedrick.

Misuse of a P-card is a felony, according to Councilman Lynn Carr.

Councilwoman Tanya Ryan said the felony charges would be decided by a judge.

“A minimum of eight (felony) charges are guaranteed,” said Ryan.

Mineral County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Courrier will make the final decision on whether or not something goes to the grand jury, which in turn will decide whether to indict or not, said Police Chief Mike Miller.

“It basically will come down to what our prosecutor feels is the right thing to do,” said Miller.

The petition to remove Twigg from office can’t go anywhere until the $155 fee is paid, according to Ryan.

Ryan said that paying the fee doesn’t ensure that the petition will go to a judge.

The petition, which was signed by 241 residents, was circulated by Shepherd and resident Butch Hawse.

Due to health reasons, Twigg wasn’t in attendance at the meeting.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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