The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 6, 2013

Dog warden OKs schedule change

Commission agrees adjustment will be temporary

LEWISBURG — Assured that a change in his work hours would only be temporary, Greenbrier County’s full-time animal control officer agreed to work weekends until a part-time dog warden can be hired and trained.

County commissioners voted last month to add the part-time position to fill the weekend gap in animal control service, rather than have officer Robert McClung be on call seven days a week.

McClung initially resisted the plan calling for him temporarily to take two days off midweek rather than having his weekends free, but reluctantly acceded after Greenbrier County commissioners voted to put a firm one-month time limit on the change in his hours.

“Having me work weekends is improper,” he protested when commissioners first advanced the proposal during a Wednesday meeting. “I have a life.”

Commissioner Woody Hanna told McClung the weekend work would only be for the short-term, perhaps as little as three or four weeks, with the new part-time employee taking over weekends thereafter.

Commission President Karen Lobban said, “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

“I may do it on a short-term basis,” McClung finally agreed.

In a related matter, Hanna was surprised to see an item on Wednesday’s agenda calling for reconsideration of the commission’s recent decision to maintain the Animal Control Department rather than transfer its duties to the Sheriff’s Department.

“I thought this was an issue we had put to rest,” Hanna said.

He pointed out that Sheriff Jan Cahill had spoken against the transfer at a special meeting held June 19, citing the many duties his officers already have, including investigating crimes in a region plagued by a rising drug problem.

“I can’t help the sheriff do his duties with the drug problem, but I don’t think we need to saddle him with the (responsibility) of animal control,” Hanna said. “I just don’t feel that it’s the right thing to do.”

Lobban’s motion to keep the Animal Control Department open included the provision that McClung would work weekends until a part-time dog warden could be hired and trained.

To answer McClung’s objections to what appeared to be an open-ended change in his work schedule, commissioners amended the motion to include the one-month limit on the temporary disruption in the dog warden’s days off.

Commissioners unanimously approved the amended measure.

They also agreed to fund training for the successful candidate for the part-time dog warden job now being advertised. The level II training session that got the nod is being conducted in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 12-16.

In an unrelated matter, commissioners voted to allow the Greenbrier County Board of Education to hold a special election Oct. 5 for the proposed continuation of a special levy.

According to County Clerk Robin Loudermilk, the school board will pay all costs associated with the election. She said she would order the necessary supplies and forward the invoices to the board.

Last week’s meeting served as the county commission’s regular first session of the month, meaning there will be no meeting Tuesday, as originally scheduled. The next regular session is set for July 23.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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