Matewan council retains Mounts as police chief

Debbie Rolen drolen@civitasmedia.com

January 16, 2014

Debbie Rolen

drolen@civitas media.com

MATEWAN - At the regular meeting of the Matewan Town Council, several issues were discussed, and a decision was made regarding the town’s police chief.

The Thacker Water Project was discussed and Patrick Rawlings, senior designer at Triad Engineering Inc. spoke to the council about the status of the project.

“The biggest thing we have left is the booster station, which should be delivered next week. At a cost of $175,000, that accounts for about 10 percent of the cost of the project. Once that is in place, I would say the project is at about 85 percent complete.”

Rawlings said most of the pipe is in, except for what would be on land they don’t have easements for yet. He told council members they are getting close to running out of a place to work and need to get the appraisals done so the contractor won’t have to take his equipment out and move everything, which would prove to be costly.

The council approved a contract for Deaton Appraisal Services to complete the necessary appraisals for the properties at $400 each.

Rawlings said he plans to work with Deaton and get appraisals done for properties that will be grouped together so the construction company can work more efficiently.

The project is scheduled for completion in early March.

A security system for the former Matewan High School was discussed. The town has received one bid for more than $23,000. They plan to solicit bids from other vendors, including bids for monthly service.

The next item discussed was a storm drain that needs to be cleaned out. The drain is 58 inches in diameter and runs for a distance estimated at more than 50 feet. The last time the drain was cleaned out was by the National Guard after the flooding in 2009.

Mayor Shelia Kessler told the council FEMA money is available to use for cleaning out the drain, but she had spoken with David Cook, who told her the fundsavailable are not adequate for the project. Kessler is going to ask Cook to come to the next meeting and explain the process for cleaning the drain and how much it would cost.

The council discussed 2014 events, including the Matewan Massacre in May, the Hatfield-McCoy events in June and Matewan’s Homecoming in September. They discussed meetings to plan for them.

The town has been taking applications for police chief since Patrick “Allen” Mounts took a full-time position with the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department. The council went into executive session to discuss the matter, then came back to address the situation.

Kessler said they had a difficult time reaching a decision.

“Our current chief of police did not formally resign. He has said he will stay on as chief if he can keep his other full-time job with the sheriff’s department.”

The council approved Mounts keeping his full-time position with the sheriff’s department, while remaining as Matewan’s chief of police.

Mayor Kessler said they would keep the applications they received in case they need to revisit the issue.

After the meeting, Mounts said he believes he can make it work.

“It will a little bit different schedule. The sheriff’s department will be the primary. My day off will be Wednesday. I will still be taking calls, I just won’t be in the office,” Mounts said.

Town Recorder David Smith said Mounts was still going to administer the office.

“That way he can still direct us based on his experience. We will start using our part-time officers more full-time.”

Matewan has two part-time officers, but one has resigned. Steven Smith, who also works part-time for the sheriff’s department is the other part-time officer. Smith works first shift at the sheriff’s department and third shift at Matewan.

Mounts says he is willing to give the arrangement a try to see if he can make it work for both the officers and the town.