The West Virginia Division of Highways’ former equipment director got a pay raise and a promotion while federal agents were investigating his office.
In January, Bob Andrew received a $7,500 salary hike and was promoted to a new job as executive assistant to Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox, according to records at the state budget office.
At the time, Mattox and other DOH officials knew the feds were investigating the division’s equipment office in Buckhannon, which Andrew had supervised for years. Federal agents delivered search warrants at the DOH’s equipment division in August 2013.
DOH spokeswoman Carrie Bly would not comment on Andrew’s pay raise and promotion, saying it is a personnel matter.
Andrew, 76, abruptly resigned Aug. 22, a week after an FBI agent testified that Andrew directed two DOH employees to drive a surplus dump truck to the Port of Baltimore, then allegedly falsified paperwork about the trip’s purpose. Andrew prepared and approved travel reimbursement forms that claimed the employees had traveled to Maryland and Virginia to inspect equipment sold by the U.S. General Services Administration, according to the federal agent’s testimony.
At the same hearing, Edward “Matt” Tuttle, one of the employees who drove the truck to Baltimore, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. Tuttle worked under Andrew at the DOH equipment division in Buckhannon.
For more than a year, federal and state authorities have been investigating the equipment office over allegations of bid rigging, misuse of taxpayer funds and participating in political activities on state time.
Nonetheless, the DOH promoted Andrew to special assistant to Mattox and bumped his salary from $75,240 to $82,764 on Jan. 1, records show. In his new post, Andrew was eligible for unlimited overtime.
Before he quit, Andrew accumulated about $12,000 in extra pay this year, according to payroll records. DOH officials refused to say if the additional pay was for overtime. He’s expected to receive an additional lump-sum payment, for unused annual leave, after the DOH approves his resignation forms.
In 2013, Andrew received $91,735 in total compensation, $16,500 more than his base salary that year. DOH officials wouldn’t comment on the reason for the extra pay.
Andrew worked for the Division of Highways for 16 years. As Mattox’s special assistant, he was assigned to look into converting the state vehicle fleet to natural gas.
The DOH equipment division supplies dump trucks, bulldozers, excavators, mowers, graders and spare parts to DOH garages throughout West Virginia. The division has about 90 employees.
In August 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office served search warrants on the same days at the DOH’s equipment office and at MoTrim Inc., in Cambridge, Ohio.
MoTrim has a contract with West Virginia to supply parts for DOH mowers. The contract allows DOH equipment division employees to buy MoTrim parts with state purchasing cards, or “P-cards,” government records show. MoTrim, which was awarded the parts contract in 2012, also distributes boom mowers.
So far, the federal investigation has snared two DOH employees, Tuttle and Barry D. Thompson, a former equipment division supervisor who’s scheduled to go on trial next month in Elkins. Thompson also is charged with lying to a federal agent. Tuttle and Thompson resigned in April.
Andrew’s lawyer, John Carr, would not comment last week for this report.
In 2006, West Virginia’s Ethics Commission and Legislative Auditor’s Office investigated truck and equipment purchases at the DOH equipment division. At the time, Andrew called the investigation a “bunch of malarkey.” The investigation’s findings weren’t made public.
Reach Eric Eyre at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-4869 or follow @Ericeyre on Twitter.