The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 9, 2013

Raleigh County administrator on medical leave; commissioners seeking replacement

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — Medical issues have forced Raleigh County Administrator John Humphrey to the sidelines and prompted a search for a successor to run the day-to-day operations of government.

Humphrey confirmed Wednesday that he has been on medical leave since Jan. 4 and is awaiting a decision on a petition for disability from the state.

“I have some health problems,” Humphrey said, without elaborating on the nature of the illness.

Humphrey served 18 years as a commissioner until his defeat in 2010 to Dave Tolliver, now the commission president, and as of New Year’s Day in 2011 has been serving as administrator.

While he is away, Deputy Administrator Clayton Terry has been filling in.

The commission ran newspaper ads in Beckley and Charleston, seeking applications for the $63,000 a year post. A deadline of May 17 was imposed for posting an application.

Among qualifications are an “extensive knowledge” of human resources, purchasing, finance, local government operations and relationships of various county departments and agencies.

Applicants should also possess “excellent verbal and written communications skills” and have experience as a county or city administrator, or a deputy administrator, and be equipped to “diplomatically justify, defend, negotiate or settle matters involving significant or controversial issues.”

What’s more, the county is looking for an individual with a BS degree from a recognized college or university in accounting or business administration, or a related field.

Humphrey said he wouldn’t return to work unless his personal physician gives him a green light to do so.

In the past half century, only Humphrey and former Commissioner Vernon Barley served three, six-year terms on the commission.

“A lot has happened over the years,” Humphrey said, pointing to advances in adding water and sewer lines across the county and the growth of new businesses.

Tolliver said the commission decided to seek applicants to succeed Humphrey, since uncertainty exists with his medical condition and status.

“We don’t know what he’s going to do,” Tolliver said.

“We have to have an administrator. The main job is taking care of our budget and the elected officials’ budgets, and signing purchase orders.”