Who is the most powerful man in Harrison County?

My vote goes to James R. Christie. If the possession of a controlling influence to make the changes a person wants is part of the definition of powerful then Jim must be it.

The Harrison County Commissioners can not refuse his requests. The Commissioners don’t even have their own lawyers providing an independent eye on the documents that Jim provides. They rely on his advice and are prone to sign on the dotted line. Case in point was a recent proposal for the County to guarantee YMCA bonds. If it were not for a citizen who looked into the matter and asked some salient questions the Commissioners may have signed up to guarantee bonds that were neither tax-free in the eyes of the IRS or were of questionable legality under the laws of WV.

At Comvest, located on Genesis Blvd, Mr. Christie is in the investment bond business and provides his services to the municipalities, school board, various county government entities from EMS to volunteer fire departments, to owning and leasing the bleachers at the RCB football field. His partner is the president of the Harrison County Development Authority that advises the County Commissioners on TIF and other members of public investments. Another employee is a former administrator of the school board and now provides the Board with advice and strategies on local school bonds. He also has debated the merits of creating a new school at Charles Pointe.

As a member of the Board of Directors for the YMCA, Mr Christie sees the future for the YMCA at Charles Pointe. Some discussions about the future relocation of the county’s Senior Citizens Center have been offered, sotto voce, with the idea of a new Y.

Mr. Christie is a champion of the Charles Pointe development and reportedly has predicted that it will become the future Main Street of Bridgeport. He’s the guy to make that happen. Mr. Christie is the Chairman of the Charles Pointe Community Enhancement District and will be determining the real estate assessment values against current property owners. If you wish to find out more about the Charles Pointe CED, by the way, then you will not want to miss their meeting on Monday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m. in the municipal building in the City Council Conference room.

Mr. Christie is of course the Mayor of Bridgeport. He is a powerful member on the city counsel and has additional support from a newly appointed replacement council member. Let’s also give him credit for being a board member of the airport authority that will influence investment in that development area.

Bridgeport, under Mr. Christie, is applying for the Home Rule Pilot Program wherein the state will choose five cities to participate. The program will allow the chosen municipalities to gain some degree of exemption from the state laws that other municipalities must follow in the areas of taxation, personnel, administration, annexation and some other areas. It may be the wave of the future if used properly, allowing cities to create their own substitute laws, so to speak. Be sure to take a close look at the final application for a copy of the written plan which will explain how this will make Bridgeport better.

I can’t think of anyone in Harrison County who is more powerful. Can you?

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21 Responses

  1. Power is fine and dandy if used for the good of all. Doesn’t appear to be the case here. Building up the development machine at Charles Pointe has been accomplished. Why does it need more in the wa;y of this Community Enhancment District– a city unto itself within Bridgeport without Bridgeport or harrison County getting any of the ultimate benefit. Property taxes to Charles Pointe instead of WV schools (as intended by our WV state constitution) for 35 years??? No wonder our kids leave the state.

    Home Rule without debating it first??

    When are we in Harrison County going to get away from the ways of the old days that led to the demise of Clarksburg??? Can’t you see it happening already to Bridgeport?

    Possible quote from Mayor JIm: “Never saw a conflict of interest I didn’t like”

  2. WoW, I had no idea of his power.

    I wish we had a Jim Christy in my neighborhood, southern part of Harrison County.

    Actually, looks like Clarksburg could use one too!

    Thanks Jim!

  3. Hey Scarlett,

    You can have him! Hope you don’t mind losing your neighborhood schools, or paying a fire fee that will not improve service to you only to those in his pet project neighborhood. By the way, any request that you or any of your neighbors have will go on deaf ears unless it favors his pet project or puts money in his back pocket. So as long as you don’t mind his obscene conflict of interest in your city government. Jim is the man for you!

  4. What about things that made this city great before the Master Planned Community ? Furthermore, people with a vested (financial) interest in Charles Pointe really shouln’t be serving on city council. It is a very self-serving position, and tunnel vision prevents you from seeing it as such. You honestly think you are doing what is best for “the city.” Fortunately, many voters are being outraged and enlightened.

  5. Talk about self serving, what about Mr Christie’s business partner, Mr. Cutlip. He is a member of the Harrsion co. development authority. They are both vested in our city’s TIFF program. Is Mr Cutlip objective when a new business inquires about moving to Harrison County? Will Cutlip “steer” new industry to their development? If you own commercial property out side of our TIFF district here in Bport, then you should know that you are at a huge dissadvantage.

    Wake up tax payers of Harrison County! We are going to pay for this scam for years to come in an increase of county property taxes to cover services in this area. With 2 of our elected county commissoners on board, these men now have the school board under their thumb. Get off you lazzy asses and vote out our incumbents! We can’t just talk about it anymore. Sread the word.

  6. Next on the Chrisitie hit parade…HOME RULE!!

    Bridgeport has very quietly applied to the State to be approved as one of 5 cities in the HOME RULE pilot program. The notice of the application and the public hearing was put in the Saturday, November 10, edition of the Exponent -Telegram (the least read edition of the week). The public hearing will be Monday, December 10 at 7:00pm at the City Hall. (Also on the agenda for that meeting…THE FIRE FEE REVISED!)

    Mr. Christie’s conflicts of interest regarding his involvement with the development of Charles Pointe and sitting as the city’s mayor are outrageous. Many have been brought to light on this blog in numerous postings and comments.

    Now with HOME RULE, Mr. Chrisitie who is the chairperson of the Charles Pointe Community Enhancement District will have to get permission from only the city, not the county commission or anyone else, to sell additional bonds for Charles Pointe. So Chairperson Christie can ask Mayor Christie if he can sell some more bonds. It seems getting the county commission involved in the TIF was too time consuming. Let’s take out the middle man!

    Whether you are “for” or “against” HOME RULE for cities, no one (except the “insiders”) can be for this total abuse of power and sickening conflict of interest. If Bridgeport as a city government and city council wants to pursue HOME RULE, then they need to ask for Mayor Christie’s resignation.

    Residents of Bridgeport…write, call or email city council members and let them know we can not tolerate this injustice any longer. Bridgeport’s mayor should be concerned about the success and protection of all the neighborhoods in Bridgeport not just Charles Pointe!

    Go to wwww.bridgeportwv.com the city’s website and click on Commissions/Boards on the left side menu, then click on city council. Then click on each council member’s name to email them.

    Tell council members you can not have HOME RULE with Jim Christie as mayor. HOME RULE will make him “KING JAMES ” If you value anything in Bridgeport proper…we certainly DON’T NEED THAT!!!

  7. All of you do nothings sit around and get the blogs and complain. If you spent more time working maybe you would be as successful as these individuals. I don’t some bum sitting on the Harrison County Development Committee or being elected to Council. Look at Clarksburg, Hunt’s business went into bankruptcy and the dolts in Clarksburg elect him to run their city. Well he delivered! Look at the place today!

    So why don’t y’all crawl back into the holes you came out of and let the successful people continue to bring jobs, tax dollars etc. to the area. I know…….I’d rather be reading a blog from a tired old beauty queen – who also is a Government employee.

  8. Mr Whine,
    You are being a bit hasty. You conclude that there are no public dollars under discussion here. If this was all private dollars that were at risk for an investment there would be no complaints. But it is not. It is $28 million in a 4 lane through private property; $97 million in TIFs; bond brokers hold positions of public trust and office who are determining the outcome of public investment to private hands.
    If they don’t want oversight by the public they should have funded this themselves and freed themselves from public scrutiny.
    Any citizen who has been in a hole ought to emerge and see for themselves what is being done in their name. If they approve fine. But the public scrutiny is causing some of you folks to panic. And indeed you should.

  9. Mr. Smithson,

    You are correct, I was being hasty and you make great points. What concerns me more is that all of these people complain and do nothing about it. Here are some suggestions:

    Stop purchasing the Clarksburg Paper – they do not report anything and when they do, it is a one sided story. If the circulation drops, ad revenue will follow.

    Demand that our local radio and tv stations actually cover these issues. If not, organize a boycott!

    Attend council meetings, organize your neighbors and get involved. Oh – VOTE!

    Pressure your elected officials to work with everyone in the commuity to resolve issue. Everyone should have a seat at the table. Heck, Councilperson Bailey should bring her huge city wide coalition together to solve issues in the CBD and all the neighborhoods. She has the capital and I hope she does not waste it trying to please the “men” on council so she can be Mayor one day!

    Change the form of government so that all the people are represented. In Clarksburg, they do not have a ward system, thus candidate can be hated in their neighborhoods, yet still get elected with support from family members across town. How about they elect a mayor directly? Bet Councilperson Bailey would be Mayor today if that was the case!

    Also, be careful and scruntize the motives of people who say they are for “change”, like this blogger. This person is just a wealthy as those we are complaining about, have cushy government jobs and rent office space to the government. They have a motive and it may not be the same as these folks. This blogger should disclose this information.

    I am blowing off steam, as the others are. So, I can only hope that some of you will actually get involved at the grass roots level and take control back for ALL of the people.

  10. Note to Blogger: You may want to change the title of this article to ‘Who WAS the most powerful man in Harrison County?’ Mr. Christie seems to have egg on his face again—–introducing out of town firefighters and ignoring the police. Yikes! Just the latest in a growing list of missteps. Walking all over the citizens who volunteered to serve on the Fire Fee Committee. A look at the bills in Charleston shows some changes to Home Rule. Probably not going to be available until mid 2009. Another jewel falls from the crown. King James is having some problems here of late. Going down on the power scale.

  11. I dont see Mr. Christie as the most powerful man in the county, or a former most powerful man in the count, he is just one, of many, who has the vision, the fortitude, and tenacity to want to move forward, while others want to spend their time and energy digging up some way to condemn and critize.

    So will someone please give Mr. Christie a book on proper etiquette so perhaps he will remember to recognize everyone next time????? I feel certain that it was not intentional, as I know for a fact the great respect and admiration that he holds for those in public service.

  12. The most powerful man in Harrison County is NOT Mr Christie. The most powerful man in Harrison County is now John Miller!!! He buys paper and ink by the truckloads! Trouble is, he doesn’t even know how powerful he is!!!!!!

  13. That is so true. If only Mr. Miller would get off his ass and do some investigative reporting. If he would only get off his ass and realize the power he has. The power he has to do good. If only he would stop catering to his advertisers. If only he could mentor his talented writers like Jim Fisher, instead of putting them inside a box. The newspaper now, is nothing but a dead fish. It stinks and means nothing. He lets Jamie Logue write Smurf editorials, for goodness’ sake.

  14. I agree Claire Voyant…..that paper is nothing more than a national news press release…….all they do is report local feel good stories….been that way for a long time……I dont even read it anymore……the Dominion Post has better articles in it……read about racism accusations last week at Clarksburg FOE in the Post. I dont know if TELEGRAM even picked up story. “OH but we love those employee of the month blurbs” some real Pulitzer Prize stuff…..what they need is a little Competition!

  15. Mr. Christie, any other political figure or business owner in WV recites the mantra-”Sure it’s illegal, but as long as no one does anything to stop us-who cares.”

  16. On the website for Charles Point they claim that the namesake loved West Virginia’s natural resources. Strangely they believe blowing off the top of mountains and leaving nothing but a giant flat barren bedrock building pad is in-keeping with his beliefs. Wherever they used natural hills every tree is gone – I’m not sure if it was pasture before but it sure is treeless. They’ve got all kinds of big chains in there IHOP, BFS EXXON, Sheraton or somebody. Big progress except for all the points you made. Seeing that so-called planned community made me wonder when did they plan it exactly, 1950? There was no vision, no respect for nature, no forward thinking, and certainly no preservation of the West Virginia values they claim to uphold there – all I saw was the West Virginia brand of sprawl and as you point out draining more dollars from the many, many places it’s needed most around here. Seeing that development made me really very sad. I hope in the end it’s more good than harm – I really do but I sure hope it is an isolated incident because it would really be awful to see more “planned communities” like that one! :(

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