2 officials in West Virginia admit to an ethics violation
HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) — Former and current council members in a West Virginia town have admitted to an ethics violation for voting to decide on whether to count provisional ballots that impacted their elections.
Both Harpers Ferry Council Member Hardwick Johnson and Charlotte Thompson, the former council member, entered the conciliation agreements with the state's Ethics Commission Thursday, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
The agreements said the officials had violated a provision in the Ethics Act by voting on the measure while having a direct financial interest in the outcome due to their salary.
Johnson and Thompson were both council members and candidates in the municipal elections election last year when the city council voted to reject four provisional ballots.
The decision was contested, and the case reached the state's Supreme Court, which issued a ruling in June ordering that the ballots be counted. The court also said Johnson and Thompson should have recused themselves from weighing in on the issue.
The ballots were counted last month and changed the final results of the election, making Thompson lose his seat.
Both Johnson and Thompson must pay fines, accept a public reprimand and undergo ethics training as part of their agreement.