The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 30, 2013

Commission’s administrator slot still open

— A stalemate in the effort to hire a new administrator as a successor to ailing John Humphrey has left the Raleigh County Commission with no choice but to spread the duties to four people already on the payroll.

Twenty-one people sought the job after Humphrey went on leave in early January, and eventually the commission whittled the list of candidates to three.

But one still in the running happened to be a nephew of Commission President Dave Tolliver, so he bowed out of the picture to avoid the conflict of voting on a relative seeking the job. The nephew currently is employed in the circuit clerk’s office.

That left Commissioners Pat Reed and Linda Epling, deadlocked in an unshakable 1-1 vote.

“The commissioners could not agree, so they have decided to put it on hold,” county attorney Bill Roop said Friday.

Instead, he and Tolliver said the duties are being spread among the four-member staff, headed by Assistant Administrator Clayton Terry, who will handle the lion’s share of the work.

“We’ll just have to revisit it and re-advertise it,” Tolliver said, when reached while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“I don’t know exactly when we’ll do it. It could be a good while before we re-advertise it.”

Unless, of course, Reed and Epling can agree on someone to fill the post, which pays about $63,000.

“I’m staying out of it,” Tolliver said.

“I told them, ‘Just pick one.’ It doesn’t matter to me.”

There is no legal mandate for the county to have an administrator on the payroll, Roop emphasized.

“Counties are not required to have an administrator,” the attorney said.

“Wyoming County does not have an administrator.”

Roop said the commission has taken the position that it can get along, at least for now, without the services of an administrator.

What’s more, the attorney said, the sentiment was that the commission shouldn’t leave the three finalists in limbo with no assurances that one of them can be chosen.

“It’s not fair to keep them hanging on,” Roop said.

Humphrey left the post Jan. 4 for treatment of an unspecified medical issue. He served as commissioner 18 years until Tolliver defeated him in 2010.

The commission is skipping the normal meeting date of the first Tuesday of the month in deference to Independence Day, which falls on Thursday.

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