From the Commission President
Two days after the March 20 Pocahontas County Commission meeting, I was driving out of Old Pike Road when on the iPod began to play George Winston's "Before Barbed Wire" from his "Plains" album. I was still hurting, and Winston's instrumental piano was a most unexpected and timely comfort. I stopped the truck, turned off the engine, and began to gaze out and upon Deer Creek Valley. The weather was insanely great, the sky likewise and blue, the vista grand and second to none. I rolled down the window. Each chord, softly hammered forth from Winston's fingertips, led me to ponder the metaphor of the song's title and its tranquil sound.
West Virginia has 167 county commissioners. Each of our 55 counties has three commissioners, with Jefferson being the exception at five. Following state law, each county annually designates an economic development authority, and each county appoints at least one of its commissioners as a representative on the board of its development authority. For Pocahontas County, our development authority is the three-county Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation, or GVEDC for short. Monroe and Greenbrier counties are the other two member counties of the GVEDC. Pocahontas has six members on the GVEDC board, of which I am one.
As part of our individual responsibilities, county commissioners serve on various governmental and organizational boards. For Pocahontas County, each year during the first commission meeting in January, we discuss which boards each of us will serve on for the new year. Some of these appointments end up being the same as the previous year, while other appointments change based on circumstances. The Pocahontas Times and Allegheny Mountain Radio report to the public about which of us commissioners are serving on which boards. The GVEDC is one such board, and I am in my fourth year as its commission representative.
Since there are many boards requiring commissioner representation, we divvy up the board appointments so as to spread the workload. Commissioner Martin Saffer, for example, serves on the Senior Citizens Board, among others. Commissioner Jamie Walker serves on the Farmland Protection Board, among others. In each case, the appointed commissioner serves as liaison between the full Commission and the board's needs and objectives. In the case of the GVEDC, I am thCe liaison between the full Commission and the GVEDC board. In all cases, these are not conflicts of interest - they are part of our individual job requirements.
Economic development is one of the responsibilities of county government. For my part, I strive for a balance between what I feel is compatible with our county's inherent gifts and strengths, what I think is necessary to keep existing industry and business alive and prospering, and what I can do to create new business. It is indeed an honor to have this responsibility, and it is one that must be approached with an open mind willing to work with others in balancing perspectives and needs. I enjoy the challenge, and I am grateful to you all for the opportunity.
Over the past year or so, we have discussed openly a number of economic opportunities and concerns. While we work hard to maintain civility and respect throughout, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. The March 20 meeting regarding Meck's business expansion was one such time.
As George Winston so simply encourages, I believe in a place before barbed wire. A time when neighbors, friends, and those with opposing views are able to respect one another's thoughts, positions, responsibilities, and decisions without resorting to serrated strands of steel to demarcate unmoving mindsets. A place devoid of ad hominem expression. A county of compromise and collaboration as the normal discourse. Above all, I wish to encourage you to believe likewise.
The Pocahontas County Commission serves you. Sign up at www.PocahontasCountyCommission.com to receive agendas via email, and please contact us anytime with your questions, thoughts and concerns. I can be reached at 304-456-4016 or email@example.com, Commissioner Martin Saffer at 304-653-4418 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Commissioner Jamie Walker at 304-799-0864. Our assistant, Sue Helton, can be reached at 304-799-6063 or shelton1@assessor .state.wv.us.