WELLSBURG — Brooke County commissioners agreed Tuesday to offer a newly created county position to a Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission staff member with grant-seeking experience.
Commission Chairman AJ Thomas offered the position of County Coordinator to Adrienne Ward, one of four candidates interviewed for the new position.
County Commissioner Tim Ennis seconded the motion. Although County Commissioner Stacey Wise was not present, she had participated in the interviews, Thomas said.
He said that until Ward accepts the position, the commission will formally approve his hiring and salary at next Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Thomas said Ward’s experience securing grants for BHJ, where she served as office manager for several years, will be invaluable to the county.
He said that with a large amount of federal funding planned for the future, “We really need someone who can apply for and close grants.”
“She administered hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and shut them down,” said Thomas.
In 2020, Ward worked closely with local authorities to gather information and data showing the need for high-speed internet service in Brooke and Hancock counties.
Thomas said she is also familiar with economic development, water and sewer projects underway in Brooke County and has interacted with staff at the West Virginia Office of Development.
Thomas said the county coordinator will also be responsible for gathering the information needed to prosecute property owners for failing to address dilapidated structures, illegal dumps and similar public nuisances the commissioners have pledged to address.
Thomas also envisions the county coordinator as the commission’s human resources manager, noting that those duties currently fall to the county’s payroll department.
The commissioners, who each receive an annual salary of $39,917, said their role in running the county will not diminish with the addition of the new position.
“We are not going to be less here” said Thomas, who added that he and the other commissioners spent many hours outside of courthouse hours attending meetings and communicating with others.
“Our workload will not decrease” agreed Ennis, who, while retired himself, noted that other county commissioners juggled full-time jobs and elected duties.
In other cases, the committee:
— Recommended repairs to the courthouse’s air conditioning system have been delayed by the shipment of parts from Japan, which is expected to take at least another two weeks.
The building has been without air conditioning since the beginning of the month following a power surge apparently linked to ongoing electrical work for the judicial annex under construction next door.
Commissioners said they would work to ensure that such surges do not impede the operation of the courthouse in the future.
– Appointed Gerry Fluharty to the Brooke County Public Library Board, reappointed Art Sullivan to the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority, and reappointed Jim Boniey, Fran Kowalo and Wise to the Northern Panhandle HOME Consortium.
— Announced that the courthouse will be closed on Monday for Independence Day.