The director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management will retire before the end of October, but Randolph County residents needn't be alarmed-the county commission has already selected a new acting director.
At Thursday's commission meeting, Jim Wise, director of the Randolph County E-911 Center, was appointed acting OEM director to fill the slot that will be left behind by outgoing OEM director Marvin Hill.
Commission President Mike Taylor said Hill submitted a letter to the commission Monday, in which he stated his intent to retire from the positions of OEM director, address and mapping coordinator and flood plain coordinator effective at the end of the business day Oct. 26.
Wise will be the acting director of the OEM while maintaining his regular duties at the E-911 center until the commission makes a decision about who will fill the position on a permanent basis, Taylor said.
The commission also approved transferring E-911 dispatcher Vern Edinger over to the Office of Emergency Management. Taylor said Edinger will be "wearing two hats," spending the majority of his work hours in the OEM while sometimes assisting at the E-911 Center.
"The commission wants to ensure citizens that the transition will go as smoothly and as effectively as possible under this plan of action," Taylor said. "The OEM will be staffed and will be functional and will be operational after Oct. 26."
Wise, who attended Thursday's commission meeting, said he would not take his new responsibilities lightly.
"I know what citizens in this county rely on and depend on, and I won't let them down," he said.
Taylor said the commission would accept Hill's retirement "with regret."
"He feels it's time to move on and we wish him well," he said.
Hill began working in the Office of Emergency Management as its single employee on a part-time basis on Jan. 15, 1999 and became the agency's full-time director in July 2007, according to county records. In recent months, Hill was the target of public criticism for the OEM's handling of the destructive June 29 storm. Hill did not return The InterMountain's calls for comment as of presstime Thursday.
In other emergency-related news, the commission voted to move forward with the purchase of generators, which will be installed at the six county fire departments that lack them, including the Mill Creek, Harman, Pickens, Whitmer , Valley Head and Beverly volunteer fire departments.
Taylor said the commission was making good on a pledge it made in the aftermath of the June 29 storm - to outfit every fire department in the county with a generator.
"In the event that (emergency officials) can't get to the people, then the people need to get to the local fire departments, and if we're going to tell them to do that, we need to have the basics to support life and property there," Taylor said.
The commission plans to purchase the generators from Master Service Mid-Atlantic, an Elkins-based company that, as the low bidder, has been awarded the state contract for generators. The cost of purchasing and installing the generators would total approximately $180,000, Taylor said.
Despite the steep price tag, Commissioner Joyce Johns said buying the generators was a must.
"It's not a question of whether we get them or not," Johns said. "We need to have them." Johns made a motion to purchase the generators, which was seconded by Commissioner Chris See prior to passing unanimously.
The commission is exploring entering into a lease-purchase agreement, which would allow it to pay off the generators over a two- to three-year period, rather than in one lump sum.
The commission also approved changing the employment status of Randolph County process server Dave Teter from part-time to full-time at his current rate of pay - $10.47 per hour. In addition to his regular process-serving duties, Teter will act as the county's new litter control officer.
Instating a new litter control officer is "another big step forward," Taylor said. "It's become readily apparent that there are illegal trash dumps, and people are not disposing of their trash properly. It's becoming a more substantial problem."
Randolph County Sheriff Jack Roy said Teter was an ideal pick for the position since his position as process server has familiarized him with every crevice of the county.
"This is not just about writing tickets," Roy said at Thursday's meeting. "It's to inform and educate people, and if the problem continues, he will eventually cite people who aren't compliant."
The commission approved hiring Melanie Ratliff as a part-time file clerk for the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney's office at a pay rate of $10 per hour, effective Oct. 22.
The commission meets at 1:30 p.m. the first and third Thursday of each month in the Commission Room of the James Cain Courthouse Annex in Elkins.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.