by Kate Shunney
The Morgan County Commission rejected a multi-point proposal from Frontier Communications to settle a complaint that 911 calls from Paw Paw can’t always get through to dispatchers.
Morgan County 911 filed a complaint against Frontier with the West Virginia Public Service Commission
on July 22. That complaint outlined how several phone line outages in the 947 exchange in Paw Paw prevented homes there from being able to call 911.
County and Frontier officials had traced the problem to a broken line that kept calls from going to a relay station in Romney, and then to the 911 center in Berkeley Springs.
At times, Frontier customers in the 947 exchange could call each other, but not any numbers outside that exchange.
Morgan County agreed to arbitration meetings with Frontier to settle the dispute, and three meetings later, Frontier had offered a proposal to 911 officials.
Deputy 911 Director Marshall Younker and County Administrator Stefanie Allemong presented that proposal to Morgan County commissioners on Wednesday, October 19. Allemong said neither she nor Younker liked what was being offered.
Frontier made it clear they had no intention to fix the broken line before 2024, and even asked for the county to help them fund a replacement line when the time came, said Younker.
Commission President Sean Forney said he didn’ t like the settlement offer, either.
“They’re a for-profit company. The county government shouldn’t be helping them manage this problem,” said Forney. “When Frontier bought the system, they knew it was a legacy system that needed upgrades.”
Commissioners voted 3-0 to reject the offer from Frontier and asked Younker and Allemong to continue to “work for a favorable resolution” to the connection issue.
Commissioner Bill Clark and Younker said Frontier has a fiber line that runs through Paw Paw, which it could connect to, but the company has chosen not to.