The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 8, 2013

Raleigh County Commission — Reed responds to Epling ‘vendetta’ claim

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — Raleigh County Attorney Bill Roop said he believes Linda and Doug Epling’s Maxwell Hill property annexation issue will be resolved at the next County Commission meeting Feb. 19.

“The issue was moved to the next commission meeting because (Commissioner Pat Reed) expressed concerns. She was not prepared to vote on it (Tuesday).”

When asked if Commissioner Linda Epling could have made a motion about the annexation or vote on it, Roop said, “Absolutely not.”

He also said that commission President Dave Tolliver could have either made a motion, or seconded it, but he could not do both.

“It’s not unheard of for an item to be delayed if a commissioner has an issue.”

Roop added, “I feel at the next meeting, we’ll have everything resolved.”

But that issue is not yet resolved, and Reed says Epling “has opened a whole new can of worms” with her accusations of a “vendetta.”

Reed said neither Linda, nor her husband Doug Epling has contacted her regarding the issue.

“As a mature commissioner regarding the accusation of a ‘vendetta,’ these items should be discussed in private, not in the newspaper,” Reed said.

“There have been questions people have asked regarding annexation. Not all people want to be in the City of Beckley, and representing the people of Raleigh County, I will be addressing their questions.”

Reed said the concern was not hers personally, but she had been called by people in the neighborhood of Maxwell Hill.

“Their concern was if they changed the one section, would they come back in and change others? Not everyone wants to be part of the City of Beckley.”

She said in reference to “a vendetta,” she questions what Epling is referring to.

“Is this political posturing by the Eplings regarding me as the lone Democrat? She may be referring to the Eplings engaging Mike Queen, according to the county’s attorney Bob Kiss (who was hired as outside counsel to handle a series of Freedom of Information Act requests filed in 2012 by Queen), to tear down the Raleigh County Commission for political reasons.”

Reed also said Epling has been “developing false memorandums and e-mails and distributing these throughout the county degrading my family.”

“As I indicated to the newspaper early this year, I would support President (Dave) Tolliver and continue working for the citizens of Raleigh County. And working together we have accomplished a lot for the first 38 days of 2013.”

When asked to respond to the accusations of false memorandums and e-mails, Epling said, “I don’t know where she’s coming from at all. I would never do that. I really don’t know how to respond to that.”

Her husband, Doug, said the issues began when he initially supported Dave Tolliver to be elected to the commission in 2010. He explained that during that year Roop asked him to be a part of the building commission. Epling said he initially declined, but then agreed.

“Pat Reed did not want me on that commission because I backed Tolliver.”

He went on to say that Reed has “created a serious ethics violation.”

“She pledged to do what’s best for Raleigh County, but she has taken a personal vendetta and applied it.”

Mike Queen contacted The Register-Herald after receiving a phone call from Doug Epling.

Queen said, “Either Pat Reed is lying or Bob Kiss is lying” in regard to the Eplings having anything to do with approaching him about the Freedom of Information Act requests Queen made to the commission.

Queen said his tip came from a source in Charleston and the Eplings were not involved.

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