WILLIAMSON - The Mingo County Commission is once again back to a three-man team, with the recent addition of veteran Board of Education member, Mike Carter, who was chosen from a field of 14 candidates who applied for the position.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first for Carter, who will serve in the position vacated by former Commissioner David Baisden who resigned after entering a plea of guilt to federal charges of extortion until the 2014 election.
First on the commission agenda was the Mingo County Housing Authority, with representative Belinda Harness providing information about their annual program income. She explained how they do low interest loans to people with limited income to complete repairs to their homes and pay the amount back in monthly payments tailored to fit their budget. The loans typically do not exceed $5,000. There is money available if a resident of the county is interested in the program. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Harness or a member of her staff by calling 304-475-4663.
The Mingo County Health Department requested the 1st half of their 2014 fiscal budget, that amount being $11,000. The request was granted.
A letter was presented to the commission by Francine Jones, a Matewan Town Council member, requesting assistance to install a security system in the former Matewan High School, as well as changing all the locks. Jones explained that since the town had assumed ownership of the facility, vandalism had become a frequent problem and since plans are moving forward to turn the school into a community center, security deterrents have to be in place before they proceed.
Commission President John Mark Hubbard asked Jones if she had received quotes from companies regarding estimates to do the work and she stated they had not. Hubbard made a motion to table the request until the next commission meeting when prices could be looked at, and further stated that the county would provide assistance if possible.
Dennis Lester, President of the Mingo County Band Boosters, requested assistance in purchasing raincoats for the band members, explaining that when they purchased the uniforms there was no funding in place for the jackets. The total cost for the rain gear was close to $1,200 and was approved.
The Guyan Conservation District representative, Helen Ann Stanley, asked the commission if their organization could have office space inside the former Coalfield CAP building, and was told that it would be taken under consideration if there was still an adequate place available.
Arthur Farra, the Mingo County Sheriff’s Deputy that had been fired by former Sheriff Eugene Crum and who was recently reinstated to his former position after filing a suit of illegal dismissal, was awarded back pay for the 8 months he was off of work (a total of $32,722), $2,000 in attorney fees and a $50,000 settlement from the insurance company for the commission.
A motion was made during executive session by Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Maynard to hire Attorney Joshua Ferrell as a part-time prosecutor since there are now two vacancies in the office, with the resignation of Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks and Assistant Matt Chandler. An agreement was reached and Ferrell will assume the assistant’s position immediately.
A motion was made and seconded to approve a one-time salary supplement of $250 for each full-time county employee as well as a $100 supplement for part-time workers.
A decision was also made that the courthouse would be closed on December 24th and the 25th, and that employees would be required to only work 1/2 of New Year’s Eve and would be closed New Year’s Day.
The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be Wednesday, Dec. 4th at 9 a.m. For additional information, contact Tina Abbott at 304-235-0380.