The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 22, 2013

Commission moves to replace administrator

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — Another step was taken Tuesday in quest of a new Raleigh County administrator to succeed the ailing John Humphrey.

Commissioners met in executive session after the routine business meeting to begin the process of scrutinizing 21 applicants who beat the May 17 deadline for turning in their resumes.

Humphrey, a former commissioner, has been on medical leave since Jan. 4 for an unspecified illness, and recently said he was awaiting a decision on a petition he filed for disability from the state.

Until he was defeated in 2010 by the commission’s new president, Dave Tolliver, Humphrey served on the body 18 years.

“We’re in the process,” Tolliver said, just before the commission went into executive session to begin reviewing the applicants.

“It will be a while (before anyone is hired). It will probably be several weeks.”

Commission Attorney Bill Roop said 14 of the applicants are male and seven others are female.

By region, 18 live in Raleigh County, and one each live in Kanawha, Mercer and Summers counties.

“We have not reviewed them and have not made any decisions,” Roop said.

In another matter, VISTA volunteer Stephen Deal advised the commission of 44 separate beautification projects in July to coincide with the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in Fayette County.

“These are from simple things such as trail building to renovation of buildings,” he said.

On other matters, commissioners approved an annual outlay of $9,800 for a contract with Delta Dental. The cost shakes out to about $455 per employee.

By unanimous vote, absent any objections, the commission approved Yvonne Knight’s request to shut off West First Street that branches off Ewart Avenue.

Kevin Hopkins, a sheriff’s deputy for 24 years, was hired on the advice of Deputy Administrator Clayton Terry for the abandoned building agency. Assessor Drema Evans was given permission to hire Benjamin Everette, a recent Concord University graduate, as a GIS mapper.

Drawdowns of 42,781.55 and $161.18 were approved for the Lillian James Learning Center.

Commissioners gave their consent to creating two new streets — McGraw Farm Road in Bolt and Care Drive in Prosperity.

Property in Prosperity owned by Maple Ridge LLC was rezoned from residential to commercial, allowing Jan-Care Ambulance to construct a maintenance facility and to allow Air Evac EMS Inc., the biggest independently owned and operated membership-supported air medical service in the nation, to operate a facility.

Air Evac operates in 15 states, with 15 locations in West Virginia. Nationwide, the firm uses the world’s largest fleet of more than 110 medically-equipped Bell 206 Long Ranger helicopters, and Bell 407 helicopters.

The commission also agreed to give $8,000 to the Glen Daniel Center for Health and Nutrition, and accepted $4,000 from the state in a contract with Theater West Virginia.

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com