County Coordinator Miller resigns
At a special meeting of the county commission on September 23 County Coordinator Jay Miller resigned from his two-year position, which paid him one dollar per year.
Some folks were stunned by the resignation, but Miller had volunteered to take the position for only two years, and his two year term will be up October 20, the date his resignation takes effect.
The past two years have brought some positive changes to the county under his leadership.ﾠ As of August, the One Room University was successfully launched, said Miller, bringing community college classes to Marlinton. With a full-time staff in place, the ORU can continue with minimal oversight by the county commission.
"Bringing community college to the county in the form of the One Room University is the one thing of significance," said Miller of his tenure as county coordinator. "People had been talking about the need for post-secondary education for years, but there was never consensus about how to do it."
"I was able to develop a plan that theﾠ [City National] Bank, New River Community and Technical College and the county commission all agreed to. After that, making it happen was fairly straightforward," Miller said.
He will now work on other projects to improve the county.
Miller will begin working with the Family Resource Network on October 21 in a joint effort with Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and the Board of Education to improve oral health care for children in the county.
As a non-practicing Certified Financial Planner, Miller said he would like to work with the school system to improve financial literacy for students, as well.
"The law assumes young people are financially responsible when they turn 18, whether or not they have any training," said Miller. "We don't allow novice drivers on the road without knowing the basics about driving, so why shouldn't the basics of money management be part of growing up?"
In addition to his interest in areas that affect young people, he also wants to take a more public role in advocating for a ban on Marcellus drilling in an effort to protect and preserve the county's water quality.
Miller has had successes as county coordinator, but he has had disappointments, as well.
"I learned that the issues which lend themselves to "coordination" are those where no one else, or any other group, has claimed territory or ownership," said Miller.ﾠ "I was able to make progress on bringing post-secondary education to the county and preventing commercial development of the Boy Scout camp at Dilley's Mill (by trying to arrange for the Trust for Public Lands to acquire the 1,200 acre tract west of Route 28) because no one else was actively working on those issues."
"On the downside, I found out quickly that ﾑlocal foods' has been claimed and those who are promoting local foods don't want to be ﾑcoordinated,"ﾑ he said.
Another issue that eluded Miller's "fix-it" was animal control.
Miller also worked with commissioners Martin Saffer and David Fleming on "planning to plan," the development of a comprehensive plan encouraged by the State to be in place by 2014.
"I was disappointed to learn that not only is ﾑplanning to plan' considered sinful by some,"' said Miller, "even talking about ﾑplanning to plan' is unforgiveable."'
Miller said he hopes that, now the position is vacant, other retired experts or former managers who have relocated to the county will step forward and volunteer to replace him as county coordinator.