The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 4, 2013

Tolliver appears destined for commission presidency

Raleigh County

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

— For the first time in history, Republicans wield the majority on the three-member Raleigh County Commission, and that means a big change is coming next week — Dave Tolliver is destined to serve as president.

Nothing is official until the formal vote comes off Tuesday at the commission’s organizational meeting, but with the Republicans occupying two of the seats, the outcome is certain.

All three commissioners met Friday to discuss protocol for the coming year and changes that are in the works.

Tolliver described the get-together as amicable and said he and Commissioners Pat Reed and Linda Epling covered much ground.

“Tuesday, there are going to be some announcements,” he said, without tipping his hand.

“There are going to be some changes. We just had a get-acquainted meeting with each other and went over some things we’d like to change. It was an excellent meeting. We expressed some changes we would like to see made. We just discussed them. It went really well.”

Reed is a long-time commissioner and now the lone Democrat, while Epling, the other Republican, won the post in the November general election in a race against Democratic rival Sherrie Hunter.

Tolliver vowed that partisanship wouldn’t become a hallmark of the new commission, once it settles down to business.

“My greatest desire is for communications, that everybody, all three of us, will know exactly what’s going on,” he said.

“Whether we all agree on something, at least everyone will know what’s going on. Communications between the commissioners hopefully will be glad. Obviously, we’re not going to agree on everything. You can disagree but don’t be disagreeable.”

Epling succeeds Democrat John Aliff, who decided against seeking re-election last year after a 12-year tenure to attend to his wife’s medical needs.

Tolliver was elected in 2010, defeating incumbent Democrat John Humphrey, who then was hired as the county administrator.

Since his arrival, Tolliver has been an outspoken commissioner.

“In two years I’ve been here, a lot of things have come up and I have expressed my opinion on several things I didn’t think were appropriately done,” he said.

“But they passed, so you go on.”

Tolliver said his main goal is that the commission be good stewards of the citizens’ money.

“Obviously, you’re not going to satisfy everyone,” he said.

“But you do what you feel is the best and vote the way you feel. I’m sure somewhere down the road there’ll be some disagreement.”

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com