Commissioners to Auction the Contents of the Old Tannery Office Building

At the March 5th Pocahontas County Commission meeting, the commissioners discussed what to do with the various items that have been left inside the former Howes Tannery Office Building in Frank. Those items include books left there by the Pocahontas County Libraries; exercise equipment rumored to have been left behind when the Sheriff’s Office closed its office there many years ago, a number of employee timeclocks and various other items left there over the years.

Jason Bauserman asked the commissioners to consider donating the time clocks to the Upper Pocahontas County Cooperative (UPCC), however the commissioners said that any items in the building for which an owner could not be determined, are county property, so would need to be sold at public auction.

Commissioner John Rebinski said he checked with the Sheriff’s Department about the exercise equipment in the building who told him they have no idea who owns that equipment.

Commission President Walt Helmick said that a public auction needs to be held, but he was unsure if that should be held at the office building or on the steps of the courthouse. Helmick volunteered to be the auctioneer at no charge to the county. Helmick said this should be done quickly because the decision of what to do with the building needs to be made soon.

Here is some background on that: The commissioners have been seriously considering demolishing that building as part of a site clean-up and eventual economic development project there. At the February 6th commission meeting, Jason Bauserman and Jimmy Harmon of the UPCC asked the commission to hold off on demolishing the office building.  JoAnn Gilardi presented a petition to the commissioners at that meeting which had been signed by 196 people, many of whom were former Howes Tannery employees. The petition asked the commissioners to not demolish the building because the UPCC was looking to find a viable business to operate in it, possibly as a leather tanning museum.  The commissioners, said the UPCC already had about 3 years to find a sustainable business for the building which would generate enough money to repair and profitably operate in the building. At that February meeting, the commissioners gave the UPCC until April to present a workable business plan.

At this week’s meeting, Bauserman told the commissioners that the UPCC has been holding meetings and hoped to present a workable business plan at the April 2nd commission meeting.

The commissioners voted to hold an auction of the contents of the old office building, with Commissioner Rebinski agreeing to do a walk-through of the office building with Bauserman to identify just what items in the building have value that could be auctioned.

At the meeting, the commissioners also approved a new Holiday Policy for dispatchers employed at the 911 Center. Under this new policy, dispatchers who are required to work on county holidays will no longer have the option of receiving time and a half pay. Instead. they will receive their normal 8 hours pay, plus an additional day and half off work. However, they must use that time off before the end of the month in which the holiday occurred, with the exception for the two holidays which occur during the month of June. (West Virginia Day and Juneteenth Day.) The policy says employees working either or both of those two June holidays will be paid time and a half but won’t have the option of taking the day and a half off in June because of scheduling difficulties during that busy vacation month.

Although he ended up voting for the new policy, Commissioner Jamie Walker wanted to point out that 911 Dispatchers working on holidays, under this new policy, will receive their normal 8 hours of pay, and additionally will get an extra day and a half off, so in effect they will be receiving 2 ½ days credit for each holiday they work except for the two holidays in June.

Additionally, the commissioners:

  • Agreed to provide a letter of support for Erica Marks’ application for a U.S. Forest Service designation of her 500-acre property as a Community Forest. This means the community can access and enjoy her property as if it were part of the Mon Forest.
  • Heard a sales pitch from Adam Dixon for the county to utilize the Certified Payments app to pay their county bills on the county website.
  • Approved the hiring of Leisha Cassell as a part-time Paramedic for the County Ambulance Service at $18.00 per hour starting immediately as needed.
  • Held a lengthy discussion with the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority about the future of trash collection after the landfill closes. Stay tuned for a future story about this discussion on Allegheny Mountain Radio.


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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