Hey! WVU has the funding framework for a new baseball stadium! The TIF passed last night because — well, I don’t know. Seems like a righteous waste of time, doesn’t it? But “quick action” yesterday sent the bill to the governor’s office.
“It’s a good day for West Virginia,” said Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia. “I think the folks back home and across the state were pretty vocal. They wanted this to happen.”
Meanwhile — and this is cheeky — the magistrate pay raise bill, the one that got handcuffed to the TIF as the TIF failed, is being poked at and pulled by the House of Delegates and the pricey special session could drag on all week.
“There are some people who feel very strongly against it. I think there is a view in our caucus that we should not be giving pay raises when we’re cutting $75 million out of our budget already,” said House Minority Leader Tim Armstead.
Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, had hoped the Legislature could end the special session on Wednesday night.
“They know how they’re going to vote on the bill. What’s the point of sitting here for three more days on the taxpayer’s dollar?” Kessler said. “I hate to just see us lay here for two more days, at $100,000 a day, to keep us here.”
Meanwhile, WVU started to climb out of the mud it found itself in Monday after State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey turned a hose to the Tier 3 process.
The Vice President for University Relations told me yesterday that WVU will appoint an entirely new evaluation committee to be responsible for the new bid.
“As President (Jim) Clements has said, the goal is to get this process right; we will take the time we need to address the deficiencies noted in the Attorney General’s report,” Lofstead said in an email.
That means no Oliver Luck, Mike Parsons, Mike Szul, Steve Kite, Alan Pearce or Robert Griffith. We’re still not sure why those final three were added, or why Procurement, Contract and Payment Services allowed that. Or why Procurement let this go to a RFP. Or … actually, there are a few questions that have been asked, formally, and are yet unanswered.
This first move is, hmm, intriguing. I have to admit I’m a little surprised.
And what of Luck? I’d have to think he’d be allowed to proceed with his involvement with this project because it’s his project aimed at benefiting his athletic department. But what if President Jim Clements wants to steer extraordinarily clear of any perceptions?
I mean, it’s the right thing to do, but I didn’t think that meant it would happen. The three most important people in the athletic department for a decision like this are banned from being a part of the decision. WVU is going to fill those seats with people who, no offense to them, aren’t as qualified.
This is not Menudo.
To be clear, you can’t blame this reaction, but now you’ve got a new committee of new minds and new eyeballs, though I wonder if “new,” or unbiased, is attainable right now. And if it is, boy, that just invites in a whole set of variables here when it’s supposed to be late in the process, the process that’s starting over almost a year after it was introduced.