Dead Man Re-appointed To Office: Fayette County Officials Scramble For Answers

A man in Pennsylvania’s Fayette County had the distinct honor of being re-appointed to the Fayette County Industrial Authority board.

What made Larry Markwood’s appointment so “distinct”? Oh nothing… except the fact that he’s been dead since 2012.

In an odd turn of events, Markwood was simply put back on the board, despite no one hearing from the former official for years.

Fayette County officials admitted on Wednesday that they never previously tried to catch up with Larry, whose lengthy absence didn’t seem to raise any alarms. Even though Markwood has been dead since August 2012, TribLive reports that no one the board was alerted to the fact.

Although members typically re-apply for a position or formally request to leave, Larry Markwood remained an appointed official despite his lack of action.

“All of us could have picked up the phone [to ask about Larry Markwood],” said Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink. “Their not meeting since 2010 should not be news to the three of us.”

Although the public now knows it’s because Larry is dead, it raises disturbing questions as to exactly whether or not this level of neglect is typical of the Fayette system of government. Terry Kriss, a Dunbar Township resident, was not shy about taking the board to task over adding a dead man to their ranks.

“If [Larry Markwood] passed away two years ago, why didn’t any of the board members pick up a phone or email you or (otherwise) let you know one of the board members is deceased and you need to reappoint or fill that position?”

Kriss felt this major oversight was likely due to a lack of meetings among board members over the past few years. The surviving board members admitted sheepishly that a new system would have to be put in place to prevent such an embarrassing scenario from being repeated.

Commissioner Chairman Vincent Zapotosky told Triblive they “intended to be smarter” in the future, which no doubt means checking on members from time to time.

“The problem has only occurred in the last few years. That’s no excuse. All three commissioners are responsible for the final product.”

Unfortunately, this situation seems to come down to the gradual inactivity of the board that Markwood was once a part of. Authority solicitor Ernest DeHaas stated that the Industrial Authority board was much more active in the 1980s and 1970s than it is now. DeHaas admitted that he too “was not aware of [Markwood being dead]”.

Hopefully, the bizarre situation surrounding the deceased Larry Markwood will encourage the government body to be more active, or at least attentive to one another, in the future.

[Image Credit: Andrew Kuchling]