Pocahontas County Commission Hires New 911/Office of Emergency Services Director

The following excerpts from the Pocahontas County Commission’s June 2, 2015 meeting detail the official hiring of a new 911/Office of Emergency Services Director. These followed a closed session discussion and review of the candidates’ interview results.

“Discussion or action on hiring a full time 911/Office of Emergency Services (Director) Commission President Bill Beard said. “What’s the pleasure of the group?”

“I make a motion that we hire Michael O’Brien as full time 911/Office of Emergency Services Director for a salary of $36,000” Commissioner David McLaughlin said
“The Motion has been made that we hire Michael O’Brien for the 911/Emergency Services Director for $36,000. Is there any discussion on the Motion?” asked Beard.

The only discussion made on the motion was by Beard who wished to talk about the process the Commission used of having an advisory committee of citizens help them interview and rate the applicants.

“I’d like to bring up that I think it was a very good idea having the committee and we took their input into the reason Mr. O’Brien is (on) the motion” Beard said. “And I appreciate the input that those people have given us and I think we need to move forward.”
With that, the moment of decision came up.

Is there any other discussion on the motion?” Beard asked the other Commissioners. “If there is no other discussion, is there any objections to the motion?”

“I’ll object to the motion” Commissioner Jamie Walker spoke up, “due to personal opinion of the review committees.”

“The motion passes 2 to 1”, Commission President Beard declared.

So just who is Michael O’Brien, the newly hired 911/Emergency Services Director who is scheduled to start on June 22nd? Well, Mr. O’Brien is a 2004 Pocahontas High graduate who comes from a very strong 13 year Fire/Emergency Medical background, having been the recipient of the Firefighter of the Year for two consecutive years at Shaver’s Fork Fire/Rescue. He is a licensed Paramedic and will be coming to this job from the position of EMS Director/Training Institution Program Coordinator at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. Prior to that he had been the Administrative Assistant to the Chief/EMS Manager.

We all here at Allegheny Mountain Radio wish him the best in his important new job and we hope to do an introductory interview with him in the near future.
In other matters, the Commission heard Mr. John Leyzorek object to cutting the courthouse trees. He also objected to the secrecy that went into the hiring decision for the 911 position.

Kenny Schoolcraft of the courthouse maintenance presented the Commission with the his opinion that all six of the courthouse trees present a danger to the public of falling and should be removed.

The Commission tabled any decision on the trees in order to hear an Arborist’s opinion about whether any of the trees are worth saving.

A discussion was held about the Commission owned 4 meter boat which had been obtained years ago by a Homeland Security Grant. It is believed to be at one of the firehouses and the Commissioners want to secure it somewhere until insurance and operator qualifications are determined.

Air-Med Care/Air Evac made another presentation of their proposal to provide county-wide insurance to protect citizens from the high costs of being medically evacuated by aircraft. The Commissioners advised them that this proposal needs to come up at next year’s budget discussion for fiscal Year 2016/17 as there is no money available in the recently approved budget for this.

The meeting ended with a discussion of who would pay for the 911 Addressing’s required signage on privately owned roads with 2 or more residences or businesses on them. The Commission’s Attorney Bob Martin was directed to draw up a proposed ordinance on this.

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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