CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A settlement has been proposed in an ethics case against Raleigh County Assessor Drema Bias Evans, who is accused of using her position to benefit family members.
The West Virginia Ethics Commission is expected to consider the proposed settlement at its May 7 meeting. A hearing on the ethics charges scheduled for Monday was postponed, media outlets reported.
Bias is accused of violating the state Ethics Act by hiring her son, Curtis Bias, as a mapper/supervisor and her grandson, Casey Bias, as an appraiser.
The allegation is contained in a four-count statement of charges issued in December 2014 by the Ethics Commission’s Probable Cause Review Board. The charges stem from a 2012 complaint filed by Charles Jones.
The board also alleged that Bias gave her son and grandson preferential treatment, and gave them and unnamed employees larger raises than those given to other employees in the office.
A fourth charge alleges that Bias authorized employees to use county vehicles to drive to Charleston for Christmas shopping.
Bias told the Charleston Daily Mail (https://bit.ly/1J6mIvh ) that she did not know she violated the Ethics Act when she hired her son in 2010.
“I signed an agreement that I was guilty because I didn’t have a third party present when I interviewed him,” Evans told the newspaper.
She said her son had 20 years of mapping experience and had 10 more years of experience than other applicants.
“My direct involvement did not comply with the requirements of the ethics act,” she said.
The newspaper said documents provided by Evans show that 23 employees in her office received merit pay increases in June 2010. Her son received one pay raise and her grandson received four raises between June 2010 and January 2012. A majority of other employees received one merit pay raises during the same period.
Evans said she wanted to settle the charges partly because of legal costs.
She would pay a $7,500 fine if the proposed settlement is approved by the Ethics Commission. She also would no longer be involved in supervising her son and grandson.
Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, https://www.charlestondailymail.com
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