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Smith to preside over commission

By Staff | Jan 14, 2009

The Tyler County Commission elected new officers at their Jan. 13 meeting.

Charles “Pork” Smith was elected as Commission President for the term. Bob Wable previously served as president. Newly elected Commissioner John Stender was made Commission Vice President. Edwin “Bud” Weigle had served as vice president. He was defeated for re-election by Stender in the November general election.

After the handover of responsibilities, Smith conducted the meeting. First on the agenda was Tyler Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee.

Furbee asked the commission to approve his hiring of Tony VanCamp as administrative assistant and Gary Rymer as assistant prosecutor. Both hirings were approved unanimously.

West Virginia University Extension Agent Kelly Degasse asked for an additional $2,000 for this fiscal year to pay for a secretary position.

“The first thing that happened was the state fully funded their employees, which gave (the secretary) a 7 percent raise,” explained Degasse. “Then her position has been re-designated as an administrative secretary instead of a regular secretary due to the fact that there is a much larger financial component to her position now. That also requires some additional funds.”

Degasse said she would be approaching the Tyler County Board of Education with the same request. She estimated that her office’s budget for next fiscal cycle would be around $9,000

The commission requested additional information before approving the request. Commissioner Wable was concerned that granting the request might put the secretary’s pay above that of county employees.

“I would like to caution about giving raises in the middle of the year and putting it over and above the wage that our employees are receiving,” remarked Wable. “It’s not a healthy thing to do. I know (the secretary) has an important job, but they all have important jobs. If we bring her up to a certain level, we have to bring them all up to that level, and that can be very expensive.”

“I agree with Bob on this,” added Smith. “You can understand what it would be like if we raised the salary of one of our offices here at the courthouse and not the rest of them. We don’t do that.”

After two months of research, the commission voted to begin implementation of the West Virginia State Auditor’s Purchasing Card Program. State Auditor’s Office Representatives Jack Berry, Catherine Fazzini, and Raymond “B.B.” Smith presented the program to the county’s department heads.

The purchasing card is a payment process used for the procurement of small dollar items. It offers agencies, boards and commissions an efficient method for streamlining the payment process. The purchasing card offers many benefits such as increased accountability for purchases, improved reporting of purchasing activity, and fraud prevention.

Berry explained that cutting down on paperwork and check writing will ultimately save the county money.

“To write a check for a $10 item will cost you about $37 by the time you process the check, pay the postage?reconcile the checks and do everything that is associated with the check,” said Berry. “If you pay with the card, once you pay for it she looks at it one time and approves it.”

The cards can be specially set to only purchase certain items, such as gasoline, preventing the cards from purchasing anything other than gasoline. All accounts can be viewed online by the designated supervisors to monitor for fraud or misuse.

It will take some time to get the program set up, but Wable is enthusiastic about trying it out.

“I know there is a lot of work,” said Wable. “For instance, we have to decide who all is going to have cards and their card limits?but I think it’s a great idea.”

County Clerk Lora Thomas and Deputy Clerk Tammy Lowe were appointed by the commission to be the county’s purchasing card supervisors.

The commission also set dates for when they will meet as the Board of Equalization and Review. The board deals with property owners who disagree with the appraisal of their property by the County Assessor’s Office. The board will hear a case on behalf of the taxpayer and rule to either agree with the Assessor’s appraisal or lower the appraisal. All hears are by appointment.

The dates for the meetings are: Friday, Jan. 30, at 9 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 6, at 9 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 10 a.m.; Friday, Feb. 13, at 9 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 21, at 9 a.m.; and Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m.