General manager of TRAC in Pasco didn't break rules in owning solar business

Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJune 13, 2014 

TRAC ATM Audit

An ATM cash machine at the TRAC facility in Pasco is one of the items of concern listed in a report that the state auditor issued to Franklin County.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Franklin County commissioners met in closed session Friday to discuss a solar business owned by Troy Woody, the general manager of the TRAC facility.

They talked about it for an hour and a half, but ultimately determined no rules were broken by Woody's ownership of Burbank-based Hot Solar Solutions LLC, Commissioner Rick Miller said.

"My problem is the perception, but no wrongdoing has been shown at this point," Miller told the Herald. "You can't tell anyone what to do on a weekend or on their off time."

Woody's role with the solar company could still be reviewed in an audit of TRAC the county is collecting proposals for, Miller said. Commissioners decided to seek bids on the audit, estimated to cost at least $50,000, at their June 4 meeting.

Miller wasn't aware of Woody's business, which filed with the state Secretary of State in October 2013, until recent days, though Woody did notify the county attorneys when the business started, he said.

Hot Solar Solutions is a "one stop shop" for solar needs, and installed the largest solar power hot water farm in the state in Prescott, according to its website.

Franklin County looked at two solar proposals from different companies for TRAC in 2011, but didn't select either of them. One would have produced 50,000 gallons of hot water a day for the Zamboni and ventilation systems at the event center's ice rink. The other would have powered the building with solar panels.

Hot Solar Solutions is not related to those projects, Woody said, adding he was unaware of Friday's meeting.

"My current solar business has nothing to do with TRAC whatsoever," he said.

Woody had been doing solar jobs "on the side" for a year and a half before starting the business, according to his LinkedIn page.

There is no conflict of interest with Woody's solar business, Commission Chairman Bob Koch said.

"The county hasn't used his solar business," Koch said. "What's the difference between that and if he went out farming? He hasn't tried to push anything on the county."

Commissioner Brad Peck could not be reached Friday.

The private audit of TRAC was a recommendation of a State Auditor's Office report released in March that faulted TRAC management for poor oversight of cash machines at the west Pasco facility. Commissioners have already adopted another recommendation by hiring an outside company to run the ATMs.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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