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New appointments made by County Commission

By Staff | Jan 12, 2011

Tyler County Commission re-elected Charles “Pork” Smith as president and John Stender vice president on Tuesday, Jan. 11, during their regular meeting.

After reading of the minutes by County Clerk Teresa Hamilton, the fiduciary and exonerations reports were given and accepted by commission.

The first topic on the day’s agenda addressed the county’s pending purchase of the Zelma Maupin house. Attorney Luke Furbee presented commission with a preliminary certificate of title to the property, noting that he had done an overview of the deed. Furbee commented he had found that there was a “gap in the chain of title” concerning a 1921 deed, due to a missing death record on one of the title holders. This prompted a discussion among commission members and Furbee concerning any problems the “gap” might create. “

How much would the county be indebted if someone showed up with a claim after the purchase is finalized?” queried Vice President Stender.

“It would be up to the court to decide,” replied Furbee, further speculating that it was “not very likely” that anyone would come forth. Furbee explained that the glitch in the title also makes it impossible for any private individual to purchase the property until the matter is cleared up, because a bank would not approve a loan in that situation. “Under the right of eminent domain, the property could be condemned by the commission,” he added.

“Do you think it would be better to condemn the property, rather than purchase it?” asked President Charles “Pork” Smith. Attorney Furbee suggested that commission go through with the purchase, but to place the money into an escrow account while the title is cleared up, if it was agreeable to the seller. “We are probably acting with an abundance of caution,” added Furbee, “but the bottom line is, in the end everyone’s objectives will be accomplished.” Commission agreed to go ahead with purchase, dependent on the provisions mentioned by the attorney.

Board of Equalization dates were addressed by county commission and approved, after some discussion with Assessor Jack Hayes, in the next order of business.

Steve Rawlings, a representative of the WV Counties Group Self-Insured Risk Pool, then addressed the commission. Tyler County is a member of the group, which is a co-operative insurance program created solely for county governments in the state. Rawlings gave a report to commission about the current standings and said, “overall, your losses are in fine shape.” Tyler County last year reported a 14 per cent loss rate, which is a very good ratio, he added. “It’s good to hear that things are going well,” noted President Charles “Pork” Smtih, adding, “We’re pleased.”

Rawlings further informed commission that rates are set to go down in the future, although he cautioned that it was not “set in stone” and that the program will be offering workers compensation to participating counties by July, 2011. This addition could theoretically replace the county’s current compensation insurer, Brickstreet.

Rawlings then invited interested parties to attend a one-day seminar in Bridgeport on February 25. The seminar will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and highlights two issues, courtroom security and cyber security. “In light of the recent incident in Arizona, this is a very timely topic,” he added when explaining the courtroom security seminar. The seminar is free to members of the WVC Risk Pool. “We should be able to send someone,” commented President Smith.

The commission then discussed the formation of committees, noting that newly-elected County Commissioner Eric Vincent would be replacing retired commissioner Bob Wable in those seats left vacant. Vincent, who is treasurer of the Tyler County Developmental Authority, expressed concern that there could a a conflict of interest if he also was on the TCDA committee in his capacity as commissioner. “Anything you have a right to control, or the right to support financially, could be considered a conflict of interest,” stated Furbee.

It was decided that John Stender would represent the commission on the committee in question.

The commission also decided to split the 911 and Emergency Services committee into separate entities, with Stender on the 911 committee and Smith on the Emergency Services committee.

Sheriff Earl “Bob” Kendle, Jr., spoke to commission concerning payment of the newly acquired rescue boat, explaining that the state had erroneously sent the check payable to the assessor’s office. Jack Hayes, assessor, noted that he would sign the check over to the sheriff’s department.

Kendle also noted that the county’s drug investigative fund was down to $300.

“What is the money used for?” queried Vice President John Stender. Sheriff Kendle explained that the money was used for “buys” in sting operations, noting that there had been over 90 arrests stemming from the program in the past year.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Vice President Stender and County Commissioner Vincent relayed that they had nothing to report, while Smith addressed three matters in his report. First, he noted that Art Mason’s term had expired with Friendly Public Service District and added that Mason indicated that he would accept another term. A motion was made by Stender and seconded by Vincent to accept Mason’s offer and the motion carried.

The second matter brought up in Smith’s report concerned appointing John Miller to the Board of Directors of the Mid-Ohio Valley Medical Services, stating that Miller was already very active in EMS in the county. A motion was made by County Commissioner Vincent to approve the appointment, and seconded by Vice President John Stender.

The final issue brought up by President Smith concerned placement of a bench on property where the veteran’s momument stands, in honor of Bob Tippins. Smith was approached by county veterans, who suggested the bench be made by Boy Scout Troop 153 and presented as a testament to Tippins’ work in helping actualize the veteran’s memorial. A motion to allow the addition was made by Stender and seconded by Vincent. The motion carried.

After a motion by Stender was passed (seconded by Vincent) to pay the current bills, the meeting was adjourned.

Those present at the meeting included: County Commissioner Eric Vincent, Vice President John Stender, President Charles “Pork” Smith, County Clerk Teresa Hamilton, Deputy Clerk Kristin Wise, County Attorney Luke Furbee, Sheriff Earl “Bob” Kendle, Jr., Assessor Jack Hayes, and Steve Rawlings.