PSC Staff chides Saffer for misleading headline
On September 23, the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff posted a document on the PSC website that describes a headline on county commissioner Martin Saffer's website as "ill-informed, misleading and erroneous."
The headline on martinsaffer.com, which has since been corrected, read, "WV PSC Agrees with PSD and County Commission," and the posting went on to quote an internal memorandum from the PSC Engineering Division, which recommended the Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) be given more time to consider sewage system alternatives for the Snowshoe area.
Complainants in a legal action against the PSD, including Snowshoe Mountain, Inc., filed a grievance with the PSC regarding the county commissioner's internet posting. The complainants do not want the PSD to have more time and want the PSC to go to circuit court to put the Snowshoe sewage project into receivership.
Referring to the grievance, the PSC document, signed by Staff Counsel Cassius H. Toon, states, "Exhibit A contains the title 'Re: WV PSC Agrees with PSD and County Commission.' Staff assumes this egregious error was made out of ignorance rather than intentional as the omission cited in Paragraph #3 above."
The document goes on to explain that an Engineering Division recommendation is not the position of the PSC, which is composed of three commissioners.
The PSC document concludes, "The assertion in Exhibit A that 'Re: PSC Agrees with PSD and County Commission' is ill informed, misleading and erroneous."
On September 24, Saffer changed the headline on his website to read, "WVPSC Engineering Staff Agrees with PSD and County Commission (corrected)."
Saffer said on Tuesday that his website postings were neither the official position of the county commission nor a part of the record of the legal action at the PSC.
"This back and forth about what was put on my personal website, I just don't see as relevant to those larger issues," he said. "It's a red herring. It's a way to generate smoke about the case that really doesn't have anything to do with the issue.
"It's unfortunate that they're wasting time on matters which are really not relevant and germane to the central questions presented by this case."
The PSD board opposes the legal action to put the Snowshoe sewage project in the hands of a receiver.
PSD attorney Christopher D. Negley filed a document in the action on September 27, that states, "the PCPSD asserts that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Pocahontas County to have the PCPSD determine and act on the most viable option for Pocahontas County. The PCPSD further asserts that the appointment of a receiver would effectively negate the necessary citizen input that is vital for such a project."