The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 3, 2013

Greenbrier Commission elects Lobban president

By Tina Alvey
Register-Herald Reporter

LEWISBURG —

Elected president of the Greenbrier County Commission during a special meeting Wednesday morning, Karen Lobban offered a message of reconciliation to a county that has often found itself divided in recent years.

“I’m proud of Greenbrier County; I’m proud of its citizens,” Lobban said, as she invited one and all to call her with their concerns, promising, “I’m always available.”

She added, “There’s not anything that can’t be worked out.”

Lobban also extended an olive branch to her fellow county officials, saying, “I want all of us elected officials in the courthouse to get along.”

Signaling her willingness to take the first step toward mending fences in the courthouse, Lobban pledged complete transparency in the budget-making process that will get under way later this month. She said she wants to ensure that all of the county’s elected officials “have complete knowledge” of the details of their departments’ financial situations.

Lobban acknowledged that there may be bumpy roads ahead, particularly as the county is now facing pressure from the state to raise property assessments. Another bone of contention, Lobban said, would probably come in the form of an updated comprehensive plan, mandated by the state to be implemented no later than 2014.

“It’s nothing we can control,” Lobban said of those two issues.

Incoming Commissioner Woody Hanna — who was elected to a fresh six-year term in November following a 12-year absence from the commission — also invited constituents to call him with concerns and suggestions for improvements in the county.

“I look forward to working with the citizens of Greenbrier County,” Hanna said.

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The three commissioners divided up assignments for themselves among 21 committees, including those like the 911 Advisory Committee and the Arts and Recreation Committee on which all commissioners serve.

Lobban’s assignments include the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Board of Health and the Day Report Center’s governing board.

Hanna, who plans to soon retire from his longtime position as a high school agriculture teacher, will serve — appropriately enough — on the Farmland Protection Board and the 4-H Extension Board, among other assignments.

Commissioner Michael McClung’s assignments for the year include the Greenbrier County Airport Authority, Homeland Security Committee and Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation.

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Newly-elected Sheriff Jan Cahill sought and received permission from the Commission to hire Bruce Sloan as his new chief deputy.

“I think this will be an appointment that’s really welcomed,” Cahill noted, citing Sloan’s impressive list of qualifications.

A graduate of the FBI Academy, Sloan served alongside Cahill in the West Virginia State Police, rising to the position of deputy superintendent. After his retirement from the State Police, Sloan immediately accepted the job of security director at The Greenbrier resort, a post he will leave to join the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, Cahill revealed Wednesday.

Sloan, who lives in Lewisburg, will begin his new job Jan. 14.

Also on Wednesday:

n Commissioners voted unanimously to continue the current courthouse business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and to continue holding regular meetings at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

n At Hanna’s prompting, the Commission resumed the parliamentary practice of requiring that a motion be seconded before being voted upon. Former commission President Betty Crookshanks had dispensed with seconds several years ago, maintaining that a three-member group is exempt from that requirement.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com