See, 060618 WVAGO, AGO 060618
|Docket Nº:||AGO 060618|
|Case Date:||June 06, 2018|
(1) Do members of an ambulance authority board have a conflict of interest under West Virginia Code § 7-15-15 if they vote to contract with either a for-profit company for which they work, or a non-profit entity for which they volunteer?
(2) Can a conflict of interest under West Virginia Code § 7-15-15 be avoided if the conflicted member recuses himself or herself from the vote?
(3) Does the Commission have authority to replace conflicted board members before the end of their term?We conclude that a board member who works for a for-profit ambulance service company has a conflict of interest for purposes of Section 7-15-15, regardless whether that company has a contract with the Board. A member who volunteers for a non-profit is unlikely to have a conflict of interest, however, unless the member stands to gain personally from any contract between the Board and the entity. In either circumstance, recusal from a vote involving the company or nonprofit will not cure a conflict of interest. Finally, although the Commission may not unilaterally remove a conflicted board member, it may appoint an immediate replacement for any member who resigns or is otherwise removed as a result of a conflict of interest. Question One: Conflicts Based On Board Members' Employment Or. Volunteer Activities West Virginia Code § 7-15-15 provides that "[n]o member of any authority . . . shall have any interest in any firm, partnership, corporation, company, association or joint-stock association engaged in the business of providing ambulance service or in the manufacture, sale or lease of ambulance equipment or facilities." W.Va. Code § 7-15-15. Further, "[n]o member of any authority . . . shall contract with the authority or be interested in, either directly or indirectly, any contract with the authority . . . ." Id. Your letter asks whether a board member has a prohibited conflict under either or both of these provisions where the Board contracts with the member's for-profit employer, or with a non-profit entity for which the member volunteers. First, we conclude that a board...
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