The Randolph County Commission pulled through a measure aimed at making its wrecker service rotation policy as fair as possible Thursday during its regular meeting.
The commission unanimously adopted an order that establishes what Randolph County E-911 Center Director Jim Wise described as a "next-on-the-list call list." What the policy essentially says, Wise added, is that as long as a vehicle owner or police officer responding to the scene of a wreck doesn't specifically request the services of a certain wrecker business, the E-911 Center will dispatch the next wrecker service on the list. However, if a vehicle owner or officer specifies a certain company, the dispatcher must honor that request.
Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor said the order also establishes a series of requirements towing companies must meet to be included on the official list; for instance, wrecker Taylor tried to assure the group of wrecker service company owners who turned out with high emotions -- and a handful of questions about the policy's intended effect -- that the order wasn't designed to give any company an edge over another.
"What this pertains to is simply the wrecker rotation list," Taylor said. "It doesn't have anything to do with the owner [of the vehicle]'s request. What this simply has to do with is if someone calls for a wrecker and they say send the next one on the list, then the 911 center sends the next one on the list.
"It's not to eliminate anyone or show favoritism," Taylor continued. "It just makes good common business sense and it's considerate of the taxpayers of Randolph County."
However, Henry Dawson, owner of Dawson's Towing, said all too frequently law enforcement officers recommend a certain service, which disproportionately benefits some businesses.
"We got one towing service in Elkins that gets damn near everything," Dawson said. "Excuse my language, but it just upsets me. Some of these police officers have buddies that they always call on."
Taylor said he understood Dawson's frustration, but advised Dawson and others with similar concerns to take up the issue with the responsible law enforcement agencies.
"If you have a problem, my recommendation is that you call the head of that local law enforcement agency," Taylor said. Commissioners unanimously approved the policy, which will go into effect Oct. 1.
In other business, Randolph County Clerk Brenda Wiseman announced that her office will be ready to go live online within the next one to two months, thanks to a new computer system unveiled in January 2011. She said Randolph County residents will soon be able to conduct research genealogical or otherwise from the comfort of their homes.
"We're starting to scan all the deed books and will books and people will be able to get on the website and look at documents," Wise said. "They won't be able to print them, but they'll be able to view them. It's going to be a really good thing, and a lot of counties have it already so I'm really excited about that."
Before adjourning, the commission also:
*Approved funding request from the Elkins Depot Welcome Center Inc. for $15,000 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
*Approved a funding request from the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce for $3,500, $2,000 of which will be used for Christmas decorations along Railroad Avenue and $1,500 of which will be earmarked for the organization's annual Christmas parade.
*Passed a resolution approving a purchase and sale agreement between Suddenlink and Cequel Communications. Taylor said the commission was merely approving Cequel's acquisition of Suddenlink and that the agreement "has nothing to do with television stations or anything of that nature."
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.