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County to resume drug testing

Random drug testing will resume for certain Pocahontas County employees after the County Commission establishes a new procedure for selecting employees to be tested. That’s the fallout of a discussion during Tuesday morning’s commission meeting.

“I think it’s important,” said Commissioner David Fleming. “I wanted us to talk about it again and see if we should re-institute that as a practice and see what the best way to select those names would be.”

Fleming said random drug testing of employees in “safety-sensitive” jobs has been a county policy since 2009, but the testing hasn’t been done for about two years, due to concerns about the lack of an official selection procedure. When drug testing was done in the past, a department supervisor picked names written on a slip of paper from a container.

Fleming said many people had spoken to him in support of drug testing for certain county jobs.

Fleming, Commissioner William Beard and Emergency Services Director Shawn Dunbrack agreed that two supervisors should conduct the selection to ensure fairness. Fleming said he would draft a selection procedure after checking with other counties. Following approval by the commission, drug testing will resume for county employees in safety-sensitive jobs.

Depot board gets letter of support

Marlinton Mayor and Railroad Depot board secretary Joe Smith asked the commission for a letter of support for a board request to obtain $32,000 in grant money, available from the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

The non-profit Marlinton Railroad Depot, Inc., owns the historic Chesapeake and Ohio rail station. Most of the depot was destroyed by fire in 2008, and a project to rebuild the station ran out of money, leaving the interior space unfinished. Smith said the grant money could be used either to pay off existing depot restoration debt or to finish the interior of the building, which needs floor and walls.

Smith said discussions were ongoing between the depot board, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Artisan’s Co-op and Route 39 Scenic Byways for the occupation and use of the depot. According to Smith, the depot board has a target date of July 1 to have the building ready for use. The commission approved a letter of support for the grant request.

Mowing contracts awarded

The commission reviewed bids and awarded three mowing contracts. David Cain won a contract to mow lots in East Cass for $418 per mowing, twice per month. Gwynne Furr won a contract to mow grass at East Fork Industrial Park in Frank for $500. Donald Rider won a contract to mow around the Hanover Building, twice during the summer, for the hay.

Steve Rawlins, representing the West Virginia County Risk Pool, updated the commission on the county’s liability insurance and worker’s compensation policies. Rawlins said the Risk Pool had added cyber-risk coverage at no additional cost. The representative said the Risk Pool offers no-cost risk reduction training, including high-speed pursuit training for law enforcement. According to Rawlins, the county is at a favorable 23 percent ratio with its policy, meaning the county has received 23 cents for every dollar paid in premiums.

The commission telephoned the West Virginia Ethics Commission to request an update on an inquiry regarding a Sheriff David Jonese campaign video. An Ethics Commission representative said she would contact the County Commission when information is available.

In other business, the commission:

– Approved a $4,500 donation to the Pocahontas County High School Spanish Club for a trip to Spain for nine students.

– Approved a letter of support for a seniors program grant request.

– Approved the Region IV Jobs Development Council annual comprehensive plan.

– Heard an update from Community Corrections Director Tammy Alderman.

– Approved hiring Katherine Carper as a full-time 911 dispatcher to replace an employee who retired.

The next regular county commission meeting is scheduled for April 15 at 5:30 p.m.


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