Pocahontas Commission resolves insurance issue

Marlinton, W.Va. – During Tuesday’s Pocahontas County Commission meeting, West Virginia County Risk Pool executive Steve Rawlings told the commission that Pocahontas Memorial Hospital equipment and ambulances would not be covered under the county’s insurance policy, until the hospital board formally transferred the property to the commission. As a result, PMH ambulances were not permitted to run on Tuesday and Wednesday, until the issue was resolved.

The commission resolved the issue without conducting an emergency meeting, as they had planned on Tuesday.

PMH chief executive officer Barbara Lay recommended Charleston attorney Michelle Grinberg to commissioner Martin Saffer, who retained the lawyer’s services on behalf of the commission. By Wednesday afternoon, Grinberg had resolved the issue with Risk Pool Administrator Chris Carey.

Carey sent an email to Grinberg Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging that, under state law, the county already owns all PMH property and “as such, the property and vehicles owned by the County through the hospital are extended coverage through the West Virginia County Risk Pool policy.”

Also during its Tuesday meeting, the commission considered hiring an Emergency Management Services Director. County 911 Director Shawn Dunbrack has been the acting EMS director since July 3.

Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith recommends the commission hire Dunbrack to do both jobs.

“I personally feel, as the Mayor of Marlinton, responsible for the largest congregation of people in the county, the two positions of 911 director and EMS director needs to be consolidated into one position,” he said. “You need to negotiate with Mr. Dunbrack on salary to compensate him to do two jobs in one position and let him do this job.”

The commission voted 3-0 to consolidate the positions and hired Dunbrack at a salary of $49,000.

The commission received one bid, from Doug McKenzie, to complete a 911 map book for $29,150. Dunbrack tells the commission the book would help emergency and repair crews find their destinations.

“I think it would save a lot of time with emergency responders going out finding these locations,” he said. “These outside power crews that we had coming in here last week. If we could have provided them a book, they could have found those addresses a lot quicker than just driving around.”

The commission unanimously accepted McKenzie’s bid. McKenzie said the the map book would be completed within two months. Commissioner David Fleming directed the contractor to put a .pdf version of the map book on the commission website for public use.

The commission voted 2-1 to relocate cages from the former contract animal shelter on Back Mountain Road to the current county-operated shelter in Marlinton. Saffer voted in opposition and favored declaring the value of the cages less than $1,000 and giving them to the private facility. The commission paid more than $7,000 for the cages two years ago. Sheriff David Jonese said he would arrange to have the cages transported to Marlinton.

After 25 years of service, Garry McClure is retiring as maintenance manager of the county courthouse. The commission promoted current employee Mike Cain to McClure’s positon at a salary of $30,000. The commission hired Kenneth Schoolcraft to fill Cain’s position, at a salary of $24,000.

In other business, the commission heard an update from new community corrections director Robert Tooze, who said he is still getting a handle on his new job.

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.

Current Weather