State removes two board members from water district in Pike County

The Kentucky Public Service Commission on Thursday removed two board members of the Mountain Water District, which provides water and sewer service in Pike County, despite a controversial attempt in the legislature to protect their seats.

Chairwoman Toni Akers and member Mike Litafik aren't eligible to serve on the five-member board because they are neither residents nor customers of the water district, the PSC ruled. The order is immediate and cannot be appealed, said PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych.

Pike County's judge-executive appoints the board.

The eligibility of the water district's board members became a controversy in June's special legislative session. An unidentified member of the House slipped language into a budget bill in an apparent effort to keep Akers and Litafik in their seats.

Previously, state law required water district board members to live in their districts; Akers and Litafik did not, and the PSC was investigating.

The law, as amended by the budget bill, allows people who are customers of the district but not residents to serve on the board. The PSC found that Akers and Litafik did not meet that definition, either.

No House member has claimed authorship of the eligibility language. But state Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, who privately does business with Mountain Water District, said he lobbied his colleagues for the change and considers Akers and Litafik to be his friends.