State commerce department Sec. Woody Thrasher has resigned following reports of a slow-moving recovery program aimed to help victims of the June 2016 flood.
Thrasher resigned Thursday after Gov. Jim Justice asked for his resignation, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Justice expressed his appreciation for Thrasher’s service to the state.
Justice said he considers Thrasher “a friend” who has done a solid job in the area of economic development. But Justice said Thrasher reported that recent media attention to the RISE West Virginia flood recovery program had distracted from the duties of his office.
Several reports indicated that the state had spent only $1.1 million of $150 million allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the RISE program. The West Virginia Department of Commerce holds the legal authority over the program.
Following those reports, Justice announced a realignment of the program, with oversight handed over to Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard.
“I hope this allows us to turn our attention to the full recovery of all of the victims of the 2016 flood,” Justice said of Thrasher's resignation Thursday.
“I accepted this appointment because of my love for the state, and because of Governor Justice’s vision that West Virginia and its citizens should not settle for 50th,” Thrasher said in the news release issued by Justice.
“I want the Governor and this state to be successful, and I welcome the opportunity to help any way I can in the future.”