Please see the following statement from House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, in response to comments regarding last Tuesday’s Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding meeting made by Brian Abraham, General Counsel to Gov. Jim Justice:
“Earlier today the General Counsel for the Governor’s Office claimed that their office had coordinated with mine to allow Jeff Wood, an assistant to Adjutant General Hoyer, to speak on behalf of the Department of Commerce to the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding in place of two Commerce Department officials who were scheduled to speak to the committee. This is not true.
“I personally did not learn that the two individuals who were supposed to testify to the committee last Tuesday morning no longer worked for the Department of Commerce and would not be present to testify that day until it was brought up in the meeting, which I was sitting in observing.
“My deputy chief of staff, Jeff Billings, did discuss with Mr. Abraham the Friday before the meeting the State Resiliency Office and that Mr. Wood would deliver the Resiliency Office’s quarterly report to the Committee, and it was agreed that that particular item – the quarterly report – would be taken off last Tuesday’s agenda. During that conversation, Mr. Abraham mentioned that Russell Tarry, one of the Development Office members who had already confirmed he would testify at Tuesday’s meeting, would be leaving state government within the next week or weeks. The Flooding Committee fully expected both Mr. Tarry and Mary Jo Thompson of the state Development Office to appear and testify last Tuesday. We continue to expect Commerce Department officials to appear before the committee at its next meeting, and will issue subpoenas to compel that testimony if representatives continue to fail to show up as we investigate these deeply serious matters.”