Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:24PM - 245 Views

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Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON - Among the items listed on the extended agenda of the Wednesday meeting of the Mingo County Commission were requests from several county offices to hire additional personnel.

Mingo County Emergency Services Director Jerrod Fletcher asked the commissioners for permission to add another paramedic, Doug Goosby, to the county ambulance service staff. Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith made a motion to grant the request and was seconded by David Baisden . Commission President John Mark Hubbard was absent from the meeting. Goosby will be hired at the rate of $10 per hour.

Fletcher also requested that Candace Branham be hired for a 90 day period to assist in the county mapping division of 911, due to a pregnant employee no longer being able to work in the field because of orders from her physician. The hiring was approved at a rate of $8 an hour.

Chief Court Marshal Yogi Croaff requested that Court Bailiff Brandon Maynard be taken off of the part-time schedule and bumped up to full time, with his pay rate increasing to $9 an hour. The commissioners voted in favor of the advancement.

A deputy clerk with the Mingo County Circuit Clerk’s office appeared before the commission on behalf of Clerk Grant Preece who was unable to attend due to an illness that required a hospital stay. Preece had submitted a written request asking that the resignation of Deputy Clerk Tracy Meadows be approved and noted as effective July 15, and further asked that Stephanie K. Austin be hired as her replacement. Austin was given the nod by the commissioners, with stipulations of her hiring to include a 6 month probationary period. The new deputy clerk will receive an annual salary of $20,000.

Region II Workforce Disaster Relief Plan Representative Jake Hunt was part of the busy agenda on Wednesday, and spoke to the commission about repair work in the Dingess, Marrowbone and Jennies Creek area for homes and property that were damaged in the March flood that hit this portion of Mingo County with a vengeance.

Hunt explained that FEMA would agree to hire four individuals to complete the repair work, and stated they planned to employ laid off workers to fill those slots. The salary will be $12 an hour and each worker will be granted 35 hours a week. Plans are to begin the project on Aug.1 of this year.

Hunt also addressed the commissioners about the need to have an experienced supervisor for the repair project, and asked if they had an idea of who they would like to fill the position. Commissioner Baisden stated that Steven Marcum, a current employee of the county, was their recommendation. Marcum will receive $15 an hour, and his salary paid by the commission will be reimbursed by FEMA as long as the repairs continue.

The final hiring request was delivered by Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks who spoke to Smith and Baisden about the need for a Drug Enforcement Investigator for the county that would work with all law enforcement agencies including the West Virginia State Police, the Sheriff’s Department and municipalities.

“Our number of drug arrests has dropped since last year, and those had decreased from 2010,” stated Sparks. “Drugs are a major concern for our county; we have got to make changes now, instead of waiting until after the first of the year.”

The prosecutor remarked about the experience held in this field by Eugene Crum, who was elected as the new Sheriff, slated to take office on Jan. 1 of 2013. Sparks stated that Crum not only has many years of experience and a solid record as a former police officer, but served for two terms as Magistrate.

“Eugene knows both sides of the judicial system,” said Sparks. “He’s dealt with everything from the initial investigation and undercover work, obtaining warrants, the arrests and arraignments, hearings and sentencing’s, there’s no part of this he isn’t familiar with.”

“I would like to hire him for the remainder of this year to work in this capacity,” explained the prosecutor. “My feelings are that within the next 5 months, Eugene and those that he selects from fellow law enforcement agencies can form a successful drug task force within our county that will already be established and in place when he takes office in January.”

“This will allow us to already have open investigations going and plans in motion,” said Sparks. “With this in place, our new sheriff will be ready to hit the ground running in January. He won’t have to spend months starting from scratch; he will be way ahead of the game.”

“I commend you for having the foresight to see what Mingo County needs to fight the drug war,” stated Smith. “I applaud and admire your dedication and commitment to making this a safer place to live, work and raise our families.”

Smith commented on his respect for Crum’s past record as an officer and as a magistrate, and said he felt this would be a win-win solution for both the prosecutor’s office and for the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department where Crum will begin serving a four year term, come January.

A motion was made and seconded to hire Crum as a Drug Enforcement Officer who will also serve as a victim advocate for the prosecutor’s office. The salary of $3,000 a month for a five month period beginning Aug. 1 was approved.

Additional articles about the Wednesday commission meeting will appear in future editions of the Daily News.

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