Commission approves multiple agenda items, discuss vacant seat


BUCKHANNON — On Thursday, September 8, Upshur County Commission met at 9 a.m. for a regularly scheduled meeting in the Upshur County Courthouse Annex. In addition to agenda items, a discussion was held in regard to the vacant seat left by the recent passing of beloved Commissioner Terry Cutright.

The commission approved the following which were listed on the agenda for discussion, action or approval.

1. Approval and signature of a Community Development Block Grant – Small Cities Block Grant Request for Payment for Elkins Road PSD Phase III Water System Improvements in the amount of $12,009.75. This is for Request for Funds #31.

2. Approval and signature of the Community Development Block Grant Amendment Request #5 for the Elkins Road PSD Phase III Water System Improvement Project. This adjustment modifies the project funding structure and extends the period of performance for Final Payment Request. 

3. Approval of “Request for Proposals” for the Upshur County Courthouse Annex – HVAC Upgrade. Sealed bids must be received by 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 13, 2022. Sealed bids received by this deadline will be opened, reviewed and read aloud by the commission during the regularly scheduled commission meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 13, 2022. 

4. Approval and signature of Office of State Treasurer Claim Form and Instructions.

5. Correspondence requesting the re-appointment of David Burr to the Elkins Road PSD Board. Upon approval, Mr. Burr’s term will be effective October 1, 2022 and expire on September 20, 2028.

6. Approval of Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility Volunteers Nathan Unrue, Carla Campbell and Kasey Davis.

Following approval of these items, previously tabled items were discussed including review the Upshur County Safe Structures and Sites Enforcement Board Petition for Order filed June 13, 2022 – Case Number 021121-01 (Union Tax District – Tax Map 7H – Parcel Number 76.1) owned by Bryce Chapman and consider Order Adopting Enforcement Agency Findings. (Tabled 7/21/22). Commission voted to remove this from tabled items and reassess n 90 days. The Sheriff’s Department request for appropriation of funding to be utilized for the purchase and training of a k9. (Tabled8/25/22) was removed as the Sheriff’s Department is now seeking outside funding for this.

Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney, fellow Commissioner Sam Nolte, Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry have shared their feelings over the loss of their co-worker and friend Terry Cutright. The passing of Commissioner Cutright has resulted in a vacant seat.

Commission President Kristie Tenney did report that “the vacant seat must be someone in the 2 District and a Republican per West Virginia Code.” Additionally, Tenney said, “Commissioner Nolte and I will have 30 days to come to an agreement for the vacant position.” It was also noted that once the seat is filled, the individual will serve until 2024.

The West Virginia Code elaborates on the issue in Chapter 3 Section 10 Article 7. It states the following.

• Any vacancy in the office of county commissioner or clerk of county commission shall be filled by appointment by the county commission. The appointee must be a person of the same political party with which the person holding the office immediately preceding the vacancy was affiliated at the time the vacancy occurred: Provided, that at the time of appointment, the appointee must have been a member of that political party for at least 60 days prior to the occurrence of the vacancy.

• If a quorum of the county commission fails to make an appointment within 30 days, the county executive committee of the same political party with which the person holding the office preceding the vacancy was affiliated at the time the vacancy occurred, shall submit a list of three legally qualified persons to fill the vacancy. Within 15 days from the date on which the list is received, the county commission shall appoint a candidate from the list to fill the vacancy. If the county commission fails to make the appointment within the specified time, then the county commissioner with the longest tenure shall eliminate one name from the submitted list, followed by the county commissioner with the second-longest tenure then eliminating one name from the submitted list. The name remaining after those two names have been eliminated shall be deemed to be appointed by the county commission to fill the vacancy.

• If the number of vacancies in a county commission deprives that body of a quorum, the Governor shall make an appointment to fill any vacancy in the county commission necessary to create a quorum, from a list of three legally qualified persons submitted by the party executive committee of the same political party with which the person holding the office immediately preceding the vacancy was affiliated at the time the vacancy occurred. The Governor shall make any appointments necessary, beginning with the vacancy first created, to create a quorum in accordance with the same procedures applicable to county commissions under §3-10-7(a) of this code. Once a quorum of the county commission is reestablished by gubernatorial appointment, the authority to fill the remaining vacancies shall be filled in the manner prescribed in §3-10-7(a) of this code.

• An appointment made pursuant to this section is for the period of time provided in §3-10-1 of this code.

• Notwithstanding any code provision to the contrary, a county commission may appoint a temporary successor to the office of clerk of the county commission until the requirements of this section have been met. The temporary successor may serve no more than 30 days from the date of the vacancy.

• If an election is necessary under §3-10-1 of this code, the county commission or the president thereof in vacation, shall be responsible for the proper proclamation, by order and notice required by §3-10-1 of this code.

• §3-10-1 of this code shall be followed with respect to any election needed to fill a vacancy, except that if the vacancy occurs after the primary cutoff date but not later than the general cutoff date, candidates to fill the vacancy shall be nominated by the county executive committee in the manner provided in §3-5-19 of this code, as in the case of filling vacancies in nominations and the names of the persons, so nominated and certified to the clerk of the county commission of the county, shall be placed upon the ballot to be voted at the next general election.

• If the election for an unexpired term is held at the same time as the election for a full term for county commissioner, the full term shall be counted first and the unexpired term shall be counted second. If the candidate with the highest number of votes for the unexpired term resides in the same magisterial district as the candidate with the highest number of votes for the full term, the candidate for the full term shall be seated. The candidate with the next highest number of votes for the unexpired term residing in a different magisterial district shall be seated for the unexpired term.

The next regular meeting of the Upshur County Commission will be held Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 9 a.m. in the Upshur County Courthouse Annex.

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