Jefferson County voters question petition, county faces FOIA case
Jefferson County, West Virginia: In regards to the upcoming zoning ordinance referendum, residents in Jefferson County are questioning the financial dealings between Lee Snyder, owner of Jefferson Utilities, and Ronda Lehman, who led a petition drive on the latest zoning ordinance. The connection between the two entities, said John Maxey, chairman of the Citizens of the Blue Ridge group, explains,"Ronda Lehman’s attempts to suppress public disclosure of the petition names is similar to her attempt to suppress that she has received payments from a corporation with economic interests in the position she is pursuing. Neither is good for a transparent government process." However, Lehman continues to emphasize that in her petition efforts she does not represent any particular entity or special interest. According to reports, Lehman said that the findings are unrelated to Jefferson County's zoning ordinance petition drive.
Jefferson County, too, is facing court cases regarding rejected FOIA requests. According to The Observer, they are involved in "a civil suit against Jefferson County in an attempt to obtain the names of the petitioners who signed the referendum petition." After signatures were filed, a FOIA request was filed to obtain the names of the petitioners, however the requests were rejected by Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan's office.
A referendum on the issue will take place on November 7, 2009.