On Cop Hiring
By JOHN G. WOLFE
The Weston City Council has tabled a request from Police Chief R.Z. Posey to employ two officers to replace vacancies created by the exit of two policemen.
At a special meeting held by the council last Tuesday evening, Posey asked the council for permission to fill two vacant positions and to employ a part-time officer. This, he said, would enable the city to continue to provide coverage of the city 24/7.
A somewhat heated exchange erupted between the chief and Councilman Jim Oldaker, who questioned whether the city had funds to pay two officers.
Perplexed, Chief Posey asked why no funds would be available as the positions were already budgeted this year and he was just replacing officers upon the recent departure of Lt. Richard Flanigan and Ptlmn. Joshua DePaulis. "You would have had to pay them if they were still working," Posey said. "The money should be there." Posey asked the council how he was supposed to provided 24/7 police coverage for the city with five officers. Posey also informed council members that hiring new officers as soon as possible was important to be able to get them enrolled in the upcoming State Police Academy.
Before things got too heated, the council approved a motion go into executive session with Posey and City Manager Michelle Allen to be included. Although no reason to go into executive session was stated in the motion, it is presumed it was held to discuss personnel and finances.
After about a 20 minute executive session the council reconvened and tabled the proposed employment of two officers until the March regular council meeting. They did approve for Posey to employe a part-time officer to work a few days a month. That part-time officer is former Deputy Sheriff Mike Posey, no relation to Chief Posey, who has served the city in that capacity in the past.
As a result of the action of the council, the city is left without 24-7 law enforcement coverage by city police. However, Chief Posey indicated that the Lewis County Sheriff's Department has agreed to cover the city at times no city officer is on duty. However, it in uncertain how long such help can be available.
The action of the council also is an indicator that the city is either having budget or cash flow problems.
A special working meeting to deal with this year's and next year's budgets has been called for Thursday evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Weston Municipal Building.
In other action at the special meeting, the council approved the addition of Fire Chief Kenny James to the name of those who can review SAFER Grant account information. The grant is for the Weston Fire Department.
By ALLISON CLARK
At last week's County Commission meeting the bids for renovations to the former jail, which will become the Lewis County Assessor's Office, were opened and reviewed. The lowest bid for the job however was over the Commission's budget for the anticipated project.
The lowest certified bid came from Lombardi, Inc. of Follansbee, W.Va., at $593,500.00.
The Commissioners approved for Lombardi to be contacted to negotiate a lower price that will fit the county's budget.
In other news, the Commission swore in Trent Butcher as a part-time security officer. Butcher is from Lewis County. At last week's commission meeting Sheriff Adam Gissy said that Butcher does aspire to be a state trooper.
Gissy's request that the Lewis County Sheriff's Department enter into a mutual aid agreement with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department was approved.
The mutual aid agreement is basically a formality that means if one department needs help the other will provide the help needed and vice versa.
Sheriff Gissy said that this is mainly in place for disaster situations. This is the only mutual aid agreement that Lewis County has with another Sheriff's Department like this.
The Commissioners appointed and swore in Robin Poling and Denver Turner to the Lewis County Planning Commission.
The Lewis County jail bill for the month of December totaled $78,309.75. This is an increase of approximately $4,000 from November.
Stella Poling and Harriett Attanazio were appointed as Lewis County Emergency Absentee Ballot Commissioners.
Commissioner Tom Fealy reported that at the ambulance authority meeting it was announced that they will be purchasing a new ambulance. The group already has the money for this purchase.
Fealy also reported that there are now 38 people in the home-confinement program in Lewis County and 167, since July, have been enrolled in Community Corrections.
"The magistrates are doing an excellent job putting people in these programs," said Fealy.
There will be no meeting of the Lewis County Commission next week but the next meeting will be held on Monday, February 2, at the Lewis County Courthouse at 10 a.m.
Early Voting Set
On School Levy
Lewis County Clerk Cynthia S. Rowan has announced that absentee ballots for county residents who will be out of county and any persons who have a disability and are unable to go to the polls on Feb. 21 for the School Levy Election have been mailed.
Applications for absentee ballots by mail must be made no later than Feb. 13 and the last day to mail absentee ballots to voters is Feb. 13 as well.
The last day to register to vote in the School Levy Election, if not already registered, is Feb. 2. Those not registered and who want to do so can register at the Voter's Registration Office located on the first floor, last room on the right, of the Lewis County Courthouse.
Rowan said the county voters who would like to vote during the early voting in person may cast their ballots in the Voter Registration office Feb. 6 through Feb. 18, on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day and also on Saturdays, Feb. 7 and Feb. 14., from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
For more information about the upcoming School Levy Election and answers to any questions about voting, call 304-269-8215.