BUCKHANNON — The temporary interim county clerk became the permanent interim county clerk following the briefest of executive sessions at Thursday’s Upshur County Commission meeting.
Carol J. Smith, who was appointed as a 30-day successor last week, will now fill the position through the 2018 election, when the position will appear on the ballot.
Long-time county clerk Debbie Thacker Wilfong died just before Christmas after having won re-election in the November General Election. She would have started her seventh term as county clerk on Jan. 1.
At Thursday’s meeting, commission president Terry Cutright said it was not necessary to advertise the position if the commission already had someone in mind.
“We can go right ahead and appoint,” he said.
Following a brief executive session, commissioner Troy A. Brady III moved to appoint “the best we have — Carol J. Smith — to fill the term.”
New commissioner Sam Nolte, who began serving his term Jan. 1, seconded the motion.
Both commissioners cited Smith’s 18 years as a deputy county clerk.
“I think you have a done a terrific job in the time you have been here,” Nolte said. “You know the office well.”
Smith said, “I would like to thank the commission for their confidence in my abilities to fill the position of interim county clerk until November 2018. I look forward to working with the office staff. We have some processes in place ... and I hope I can help them move forward”
The county clerk’s office will begin using a new indexing system this year.
Smith has begun transitioning a few of her day-to-day bookkeeping duties to other staff. She is working both out of her office, through the right door, and the county clerk’s office, through the left door.
“It is not my intention now to hire someone specifically to do bookkeeping,” she said. “This is an off election year, so hopefully with the employees we have in our office we will be able to handle everything.”
Smith said that if those duties become too much, then she may come to the commission later to fill the position.
In other county commission news, today marks the first official day for county administrator Carrie Wallace and assistant county administrator Tabatha Perry to be in their new offices at 91 W. Main Street. The commission will continue using the meeting space on the third floor of the courthouse annex for its regular Thursday meetings but will move other board meetings and hearings to the 91 W. Main Street conference room. The offices will be open the same hours as the courthouse — from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Earlier in the meeting, the commission re-elected Cutright to the role of commission president. Cutright was then sworn in by Smith.
Nolte nominated Cutright to be president, but Brady said he would nominate Nolte as president if he wanted the position.
But Nolte said, “I think I should probably give myself a year to get my feet wet and wrap my head around everything. I appreciate it, Buddy. Maybe next year.”
Brady said he did not want to be commission president and then seconded Nolte’s nomination of Cutright as president for a second year.
Cutright welcomed Nolte to the commission.
Nolte said, “I look forward to working with you and Buddy both, and for the citizens of Upshur County.”
In other business, the commission:
p Voted to keep Thursdays at 9 a.m. as the regular commission meeting date and time.
p Approved local rules for county commission meetings, a sign-in sheet for people to speak that must be completed 15 minutes prior to the meeting, and commission board appointments. Cutright will serve on the Region VI Workforce Investment Board, Region VII Planning and Development Council, Upshur County Senior Center board, Upshur County Fire Board, Inc., Upshur County Extension Service Committee and James W. Curry Advisory Board. Brady will serve on the Lewis-Upshur Community Corrections Board, Upshur County Farmland Protection Board, Upshur County Enhanced Emergency Telephone Advisory Board, Upshur County Family Resource Network and Upshur County Youth Council, Inc. (Stockert Youth Center). In his first year, Nolte will serve on the Lewis-Upshur Local Emergency Planning Committee, Upshur County 4H Foundation, Upshur County Development Authority, Buckhannon Upshur Airport Authority and Corridor H Authority.
Wallace will also represent the commission on Upshur County Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau and James W. Curry Advisory Board. Perry will attend the Buckhannon Upshur Parks and Recreation and Safe sites and Structures meetings but is not a member.
p Approved a service contract with Valley Business Systems for a machine located at the James W. Curry Library. Annual charges are $474 for the term of service from Dec. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2017.
p Approved a letter to Charlie Heater regarding a complaint filed with the Upshur County Safe Structures and Sites Board regarding his property in the Banks Tax District. The letter requests Heater to take corrective actions to bring the property into compliance.
p Approved the advertisement of a temporary grounds keeping/maintenance position for the 2017 spring/summer seasons beginning in mid-March through late September. Applications must be received by the end of the business day on Friday, Feb. 10. The rate of pay is $9 per hour.
p Accepted the resignation of James T. Farrell from the Upshur County Safe Structures and Sites Enforcement Board. This is a general public position with a term to expire on June 30, 2018. Those interested in the position may contact the commission office.
p Cutright asked Wallace to add consideration of a letter to the Consolidated Board of Public Works and the Buckhannon City Council to consider having the Blast from the Past return to Main Street in 2017. The commission will review a letter submitted by West Virginia Classic Wheels Car Club member Jerry Kimble.