The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 14, 2013

Coalfields Expressway Authority mulls road section, contract

PINEVILLE — Bringing the Coalfields Expressway from Slab Fork Road — where a 6.9-mile section open to motorists ends — to Mullens will cost $100 million, according to Richard Browning, executive director of the Coalfields Expressway Authority.  

No paving will be done until the road is “at grade” from Slab Fork Road to W.Va. 54 in Mullens, Brow-ning told authority members Thursday.

One of the remaining sections will be bid this fall and the $20 million needed has been allocated, Browning said. The 2-mile grade and drain project will also bring the new four-lane into Wyoming County.

Mike Goode, authority chairman, lauded the efforts of Gov. Earl Ray Tom-blin and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall in keeping the funding coming for the Coalfields Expressway when there is little state or federal money available.

The group also discussed several proposed ideas for raising more money for infrastructure funding on the state level.

-----

With several new authority members, the group looked over Browning’s contract, which was approved in 2009 when he retired from teaching. At the same time, Browning became a consultant for the authority, through Clear Fork Consulting, and performs the same duties.

Bill Baker, a Raleigh County member, said he was against the contract at the time because he believes it goes against the state Retirement Board requirements. Retirees can’t collect retirement, then perform the same duties, he said.

Browning reminded Baker the Retirement Board and the West Virginia Eth-ics Commission approved the contract before the Coalfields Expressway Authority members voted to approve it.

Jody Cook, a Wyoming County member, said he was a member at the same time. He said making Brow-ning a consultant, through the contract, saved the authority 52 percent over Browning’s previous salary and benefits.

David Tolliver, also a Raleigh County member, said he was interested in looking at the contract because he had never seen it; he wasn’t on the board in 2009 when it was approv-ed.

Tolliver said rumors of Browning’s pay had been greatly exaggerated to him; Browning is paid $42,000 for the year.

“My only goal here is to save the authority some money and keep doing what I’m doing,” Browning said.

Harold McBride, of McDowell County, said he wants the members to vote on the contract rather than it continue automatically.

They also asked Browning to get a written opinion from the state Retirement Board. Browning agreed and said he would also provide the original ruling from the board and the state Ethics Commission.

He also emphasized to the new members he will provide copies of anything they are interested in seeing.

The contract runs through Dec. 31, so the members took no action.

— E-mail: mcbrooks@register-herald.com

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Manchin says mines should speak out about coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Raleigh’s $19.6 million budget approved at special meeting

    Raleigh County’s $19.6 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15 is on the books. The budget and the levy rate were approved at a special county commission meeting Tuesday morning.

    April 16, 2014

  • Rainelle Town Council pulls plans to annex roads

    Residents of several communities in Greenbrier County can rest assured they won’t be affected by a proposed road annexation after Rainelle Town Council decided not to move forward with the plan.

    April 16, 2014

  • Calendar — Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    April 16, 2014

  • City and county code enforcement offices separate

    After 10 years of partnership, the City of Beckley and the Raleigh County Code Enforcement offices have decided to part ways.
    Mayor Bill O’Brien said after several meetings with county commissioners, the groups decided to separate.

    April 16, 2014

  • Learn about advance directives at RGH

    Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day and personnel will be available at Raleigh General Hospital from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to anyone interested in learning more about advance directives or who are ready to prepare them at no cost.

    April 16, 2014

  • Greenbrier Valley Famer’s market to open

    The Greenbrier Valley Farmers Market will be opening for the 2014 season Saturday at its “green space” on the corner of Arbuckle Lane and U.S. 219 in downtown Lewisburg.

    April 16, 2014

  • Oak Hill council discusses vacant buildings

    Oak Hill City Council met in regular session Monday to talk ordinance adoption and smoking issues reported in Oak Hill City Park, which was an issue recently raised to Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass.

    April 16, 2014

  • Beckley’s emergency preparedness efforts still ongoing

    Although the City of Beckley Director of Emergency Services position was eliminated two months ago, the county is continuing Kevin Taylor’s emergency preparedness efforts.

    April 16, 2014

  • Old GHS building may get new life

    A Ronceverte school building that was shuttered by consolidation in 1992 may find new life as apartments for senior citizens, if plans floated by a Kentucky development firm come to fruition.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide