Pocahontas Commission approves Tooze for Day Report Director

Marlinton, W.Va. – During Tuesday’s Pocahontas County Commission meeting, North Central Community Corrections director Travis Carter requested commission approval to hire Robert Tooze as the Pocahontas County Day Report Center director. Carter said the interview panel unanimously recommended Tooze for the position.

Commisssioner David Fleming and Commission Clerk Sue Helton say they participated in the interview process.

“I was on that interview panel and was very impressed with Mr. Tooze’s resume and qualifications,” Fleming said.

“I was on there and I was very impressed, too,” said Helton.

Commissioner Martin Saffer says the center needs strong leadership.

“I just want to say the community corrections needs some strong leadership and, perhaps, a fresh point of view will be useful,” he said.

The commission voted 3-0 to approve the hiring. Tooze will receive a starting salary of $30,000 along with county benefits.

The commission convened an emergency meeting to approve a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection, on behalf of the Pocahontas County water resources task force. The letter, stating the commission’s support for the task force’s efforts, was needed for a meeting with the DEP on Thursday.

West Virginia Ethics Commission guidance states:
“Governing bodies should exercise caution when calling an emergency meeting. Ordinarily, an “emergency” involves an unexpected situation or sudden occurrence of a serious nature, such as an event that threatens public health and safety. Every unexpected or sudden event does not constitute an emergency.”

“For an emergency meeting, the notice must be posted as soon as practicable. The notice must set forth the reason for, and purpose of, the emergency meeting.”

Prior to convening the purported emergency meeting, Helton tells commissioners she believes an emergency meeting would be illegal.

“Sue, are we allowed to take action, based on a mail item requiring response?” Fleming asked Helton.
“I don’t think so,” Helton responded.
“What?” Fleming asked.
“I don’t think so,” Helton said.
“Okay,” said Fleming.
“I don’t know why we can’t,” said Saffer.
“If we’re going to write a letter or something, we need to have it on the agenda,” Helton added.

Nevertheless, the commission voted 3-0 to authorize an emergency meeting, without public notice, and voted 3-0 to authorize the letter. A knowing and willful violation of the West Virginia Open Government law is a criminal offense.

In other business, the commission:
— voted 3-0 to designate 1st Citizens Bank, Pendleton Community Bank and City National Bank as county depositories;
— voted 3-0 to authorize an expenditure up to $3,900 for Sheriff’s Department employee vaccinations;
— voted 3-0 to authorize the transfer of a 1999 Chevrolet truck from Emergency Services to the Sheriff’s Department for animal control purposes;
— voted to fund an immunization education program up to $600.
— took no action on insurance proposals from the County Risk Pool and Jay Knicely Insurance. County insurance will remain with Nationwide Insurance for the next year.
— tabled action on a battery backup for the courthouse elevator.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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