Pocahontas Commission’s 2-19-16 & 2-22-16 Meetings
Since their February 16th Regular Meeting, the Pocahontas County Commission has held two additional meetings.
On Friday, February 19th, the Commission held an Emergency Meeting at 1:00 p.m. about continuing to operate the Counties Community Correction Day Report Program after learning that Sheriff Jonese had withdrawn the two Sheriff’s Department employees he had temporarily provided to keep the program running when the regular Day Report employees resigned. Commission President Beard explained what he hoped could be accomplished between themselves and the Sheriff at this meeting.
“So we’re here today primarily to work out a problem between us” said Beard. “And I think as elected officials, this is our duty to work this situation out and work together.”
Commission Attorney Bob Martin explains why he recommended this meeting be held.
“It is my understanding from speaking to the Sheriff yesterday that certain issues have arisen which were untenable to his perspective and he felt like he would terminate his involvement for the moment” said Martin. “I did not take our conversation last night as being one that the sheriff is not going to help us in some form or another, but I did take it that there was a significant issue. And I felt that the parties should get together and discuss that.”
Sheriff Jonese then spoke his mind to the Commission.
“For 7 years I have had nothing but push-back from the Commission on every major issue we have tried to do” said Sheriff Jonese. “I would get some of those things, but it was always have to come in here and fight for every detail. That aside, I will always do what I can to support the Commission and this County. This county was left in a bad predicament for this thing, and it was my opinion that we should have gone with Greenbrier County for this year, and if we wanted to do it separately, that would have given us time to plan for that. That wasn’t your choice. Mr. Martin did everything he could to put together a band-aid to hold this thing together, and I was glad to participate. I picked two employees and put them over there. We found that for two years that program has not been in compliance.”
Commission President Beard vehemently denied that the current Commission has not cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Department and the Sheriff later in the meeting conceded that most of the problems with the Commission he had described had occurred years ago.
Mr. Martin was also quick to point out that the Commission had not been aware of the non-compliance of the Day Report Program since the monthly reports to the Commission about the program by its former Director gave no indication of that.
Sheriff Jonese went on to explain the incident that caused him to withdraw from the program.
“But when I’m asked to help and I am trying to help and I get put into a situation which last Friday I was put into” said Sheriff Jonese. “I get a call that a Day Report person has to be transported. All my vehicles and all my Deputies are on calls. I call this office trying to get the Day Report vehicle –for Day Report – and I’m told ‘no’. So, if you want me to help you, you can’t tell me ‘we’ll help you when it’s convenient to us’, cause I’m doing what I’m required. Don’t ask me to help then put roadblocks in front of me.”
The Sheriff added that for him to continue supporting the Day Report Program, the Commission would need to give Mr. Martin complete authority and control to make decisions and handle emergency situations.
Mr. Beard indicated that Giving Mr. Martin that authority had been the Commission’s intent, but apparently that was not made clear to the Sheriff’s department and that in the future any requests for vehicles or support should go to Mr. Martin rather than to the Commission Office. The Commissioners then backed this up by passing unanimously a Motion giving Mr. Martin that authority. After this was done, the sheriff agreed to continue with his temporary assistance to the running of the Day Report Program until a Board and permanent employees can be put in place. This concluded the emergency meeting.
At their scheduled Special Meeting at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 22nd the Commission voted to create a “Local Community Criminal Justice Board” for Pocahontas County and voted to appoint 13 voting members and 2 Ex-officio (or non-voting) members to 1 year terms. The first meeting of that Board will be on February 29th at 6 p.m. at the Commission Office in the Courthouse in Marlinton and is open to the public. Those so appointed are listed on our web page, alleghenymountainradio.org.
In other actions at that meeting, the Commissioners passed a resolution to perform background checks on all new County employees.
APPOINTEES TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY CRIMINAL JUSTICE BOARD FOR POCAHONTAS COUNTY
- David Jonese, Sheriff’s Department
- Gene Simmons, Prosecutor’s Office
- Joshua Edwards, Public Defender’s Office
- Joe Walker, Board of Education
- Wanda Wyatt, Mental Health Provider,
- Laura Young, Crime Victim Rights Advocate
- Kim Beverage, Crime Victim Rights Advocate
- Missy Keatley, Substance Abuse Treatment
- Jamie Walker, County Commission
- Sam Felton, At Large member
- Janessa Henderson, At Large member
- Steve Martin, At large member
- Jocelyn Hollensworth, At Large Member
EX-Officio (non-voting members)
- Cynthia Brice-Kelly, Magistrate
- Roger Forman, Attorney