County hires new Administrator, approves upgrades for county services & buildings

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners have hired Misty Clingerman as the new County Administrator, replacing Stefanie Allemong who left the position earlier this summer. County officials approved the hire at their September 20 meeting. Clingerman was to start on Monday, September 25 at a salary of $55,000.

County insurance renewal

In other business, commissioners approved renewal of their property and casualty insurance coverage through the West Virginia Risk Pool. It covers all county-owned property and the courthouse and includes Worker’s Compensation coverage. The cost is $187,267 for the year.

Automatic bill payment

Commissioners also approved paying ordinary monthly bills for the courthouse and county offices through automatic bill payment in order to avoid any late payment fees. County officials said the State Auditor’s office had approved the move for basic expenses like electricity bills and phone service. Commissioners approve individual bills during their regular monthly meetings.

Fire alarm upgrade

Morgan County Commission’s Facilities Director Randy Stotler recommended county officials approve replacement of a fire alarm system at the county-owned Dyche-Kidwell Building on the Pines Opportunity Center campus.

Stotler said there have been multiple false alarms in that building, which houses the Economic Development Authority and a rental occupant.

An estimate for replacement of the system on existing electrical wires came in at $6,159, said Stotler. It would cost $5,500 just to replace the power supply and panel, so Stotler recommended a whole system replacement for not much more. Commissioners approved the upgrade, which will be done by Johnson Controls.

Paw Paw family center support

Commissioners agreed to provide $7,000 to Starting Points to pay rent for a new office location for the family services agency in Paw Paw for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Starting Points Executive Director Audrey Morris asked the county for help, saying the group thought it had a free office and meeting space to move into at the school, but the renovations needed in the available trailer were too extensive for the agency to cover.

Instead, the group will occupy half of a building once occupied by a hair cutting business along Paw Paw Road in town. That space will cost Starting Points $7,000 in rent for the year, which it had not built into its annual DHHR funding grant.

Morris said Starting Points has built up several new programs for young children and families in Paw Paw over the last several years. Having a meeting and office space in town will expand services and opportunities for new programs, she said.

“We’ve never had a place to meet with families one-on-one,” Morris said.

Starting Points has one full-time employee working in Paw Paw in different spots and has hired two more program staff – Jeff Rosignol and Devin Abe – to run family-centered programs.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to provide that rental funding for one year.

Letter of support

Morgan County Commissioners approved a letter of support for the West Virginia Production Alliance for its effort to purchase audio-visual equipment from the Morgan Arts Council’s Digital Media Center.

Berkeley Springs resident Rick Watson said he represents the alliance, which is trying to create and support a film industry in the state.  Watson said he wants to use the MAC equipment to teach public courses in film-related subjects. He said the Arts Council is going to close the Digital Media Center and the equipment could be put to use.

Commissioners questioned Watson about his private advocacy group and what role the county had in writing a letter of support.

The West Virginia Production Alliance calls itself “an independent advocate for WV media production in the community and the state government.”

Watson said he sees their work as supporting a growing film industry in the state and attracting projects to Morgan County. He said a London film crew was working at Cacapon State Park to film on a “microbudget” project that would test the state’s film credit arrangements.

Commissioners said they would sign a letter of support if Watson would help them prepare one.

Constitution Week Proclamation

Commissioners approved a proclamation for Constitution Week from the DAR, encouraging study of the American founding document and allegiance to its principles. Gail Potter requested the action on behalf of the local chapter.

Morgan County Commissioners approved a Constitution Week proclamation proposed by DAR organizers. Pictured, from left, are Commissioner Joel Tuttle, DAR officers Colleen Stotler, Gail Potter and Linda McGraw, Commissioner Bill Clark and Commission President Sean Forney.