Pocahontas Commission: Sheriff Can Hire 1 Deputy & Transfer Another to Process Server

At the June 21st Pocahontas County Commission Meeting, Sheriff Jonese asked for a closed Executive Session to discuss an agenda item for approval to hire one new Law Enforcement Deputy and to transfer another Law Enforcement Deputy to a position of Process Server. After returning from the closed session, they took the matter up in open session.  Commissioner McLaughlin made a motion to hire Kevin Shifflett as a new Law Enforcement Deputy then asked the Sheriff another question.

I understand the Civil Service Board approved this hire?” asked Commissioner McLaughlin.

Sheriff Jonese replied.

“Yes, under the emergency clause so that they could hire until they take the test.” Said Sheriff Jonese

At that time, Howard Shinaberry, the President of the Pocahontas County Civil Service Board spoke up.

“”This emergency clause (hiring) is only good for three months” said the Howard Shinaberry, the President of the Civil Service Board. “They also require a background and a polygraph test on these guys. We haven’t received anything. I would suggest that we postpone this until we get a background and a polygraph test.”

Sheriff Jonese was quick to respond.

“The Civil Service Board has no involvement in the internal operation other than the approval of the names we have present and provide the test” said Sheriff Jonese. “The background check and stuff is going to be entirely with the Sheriff’s Department. It is not going to be released. The polygraph and that stuff isn’t going to be released, it’s personnel information, so we went through the processes, we took it to the (Civil Service) Board, they gave us the emergency approval they are going to take the test and yes, there has to be polygraphs, does not have to be done beforehand, just has to be done in the probationary period.”

It is disturbing to learn that a newly hired Deputy Sheriff could theoretically work on the streets enforcing the law for up to a year –the probationary period for Deputy sheriffs proscribed under WV Code 7-14-1- without having his background investigated or taking a polygraph test. It was also disturbing to know that the civil Service Board is not entitled to learn that the background investigation and the polygraph exam was done and the applicant passed both. It is reasonable for the details of the background investigation and of the polygraph test not be divulged even to the Civil Service Board. But they should be entitled to the results of those – pass or fail – and that they were done.

After all was said or done, the Board approved the hiring of Shifflett under the emergency clause pending his taking and passing the Civil Service Test. They also approved the transfer of Law Enforcement Deputy Tim Sayer to the position of Process Server.

In other actions, the Commissioners extended the contract with Grazia Apolinares to run the County Water Task force for the 2017 Fiscal Year.

They removed Sara Mullenax as the Administrator of the Richard E. Mullenax Estate and replaced her with Ray Hess and Michael Douglas. This was done at the request of relatives who said Sara Mullenax has left the area without taking the required actions to close the estate.

They approved the annual renewal of Global Science and Technology’s Network Support Agreement to maintain the Courthouse’s computer network, and a three year use of Comprehensive Gateway Security Suite software – an Internet network firewall – for the courthouse.

Glenn Galloway delivered his monthly update on the activities of the Day Report Center. The Center added three new participants in May, one completed the program and two were terminated. Nine Day Report participants were given drug tests, and one test came back positive for the presence of drugs. There were 9 alcohol screenings and all of these came back clear. There were 367 community service hours completed – this was considerably more than the 191 hours in April. The Day Report program saved almost 21 thousand dollars in jail expenses in May, an almost 1/3rd increase in savings over April.

They authorized 911 Director Mike O’Brien to purchase upgraded radio equipment for the 911 Center. This will be paid for by existing cell phone and other existing fees.

The Commissioners adopted a new policy on their meeting agendas, requiring that all agenda items be submitted by 4 p.m. 1 business day before the agenda is posted. This will provide time for the Commission President to review and approve or disapprove of any proposed agenda items.

The Commissioners appointed Helen Clark, Greg Taylor and Seth Morgan to the County Emergency Medical Services authority for three year terms. They also appointed Denise McNeel to a 5 year term on the County Free Libraries Board.

The meeting ended with approval of invoices.

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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