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Courthouse Closures

The Chief Judge of a circuit has the authority to order an emergency closure of the courts in that circuit, including circuit courts, magistrate courts, circuit clerk’s offices, magistrate clerk’s offices, family courts, and probation offices. Any time off for court staff is not considered annual or sick leave. Magistrates are on a holiday/weekend schedule during the closure.

In some counties, although the courts are closed, other areas of the courthouses may remain open. In other counties, both courts and entire courthouses are closed. For information on county offices not covered by the judicial orders (which cover only the judicial offices listed above), contact that county commission.

Full Open/Closed Listing

County governments across the nation are enjoying some recognition this month as the spotlight shines on the work the y do during National County Government Month. While county governments work hard year round to serve citizens, April is the time to educate the public about county government and showcase the achievements of elected officials. NACo (the National Organization of Counties) has used its online presence to promote awareness of  National County Government Month, offering educational infographics and even a video counties can share (find these and more at www.naco.org).

On March 21st, the new Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 was signed into law by President Obama. It repeals some provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and changes others. In addition, FEMA changed their floodplain maps, and the WV legislature passed SB 621 (Authorizing Insurers offer flood insurance, which is meant to encourage private insurance companies to offer flood insurance in addition to NFIP). CCAWV turned to Richard Carte, West Virginia NFIP Assistant Coordinator, for some help in navigating the new laws. He explained that the new federal law, in particular, has many provisions that they are still sorting out – the how and when of FEMA refunds, the grandfather clause, etc. He expects they will have the answers to these questions and more in a few months. CCAWV hopes to have a representative from the West Virginia NFIP office at our annual meeting to explain how this will affect counties.

The three members of the Wetzel County Commission are making it their mission to promote understanding of the Commission’s duties and responsibilities amongst the eighth graders of Wetzel County. For the past three years, Commissioners Bob Gorby, Larry Lemon, and Don Mason have made personal appearances at four of the county’s middle schools. Working with the students’ social studies teachers, they arrange to give a presentation to the students, who are studying West Virginia history and county government as part of their civics curriculum. Each commission explains part of their duties, as students follow along in CCAWV’s informational brochure (each student gets a copy). The whole presentation takes 45 minutes to an hour. This year, excessive snow days made it more difficult for the teachers to take the time to focus on the essay contest. In spite of this, Commissioner Larry Lemon noted that one teacher, who had taken a group of eighth graders to the State Capitol during the legislative session, showed enthusiastic support for the contest, and even hoped to make it an assignment for students.

On January 26, 2014, Commissioners from across the state gathered at the Charleston Marriott in Kanawha County for CCAWV’s annual Legislative Conference.

In spite of a snowfall that blanketed much of the state the night before, creating treacherous road conditions, the conference had a robust attendance.

Board members gathered for a meeting Sunday afternoon, which was followed by a Jail Steering Committee Roundtable discussion led by Chris Tatum of Cabell County. Joe DeLong of the Regional Jail Authority was on hand to give Commissioners an update. Afterwards, commissioners gathered for a Service Appreciation Dinner.

The 60 day legislative session came to an end at midnight on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Legislators managed to complete 199 bills (out of 1,876 introduced). The atmosphere at the Capitol became increasingly hectic as the clock inched closer to Midnight. Long discussions about SB 6 (the methamphetamine bill), as well as other controversial bills, in both the House and the Senate led to a harried final hour as legislators rushed to move through as many bills as possible. Several bills met their death as a result of the time crunch, including the much-discussed SB 379 (pay raises for county officials). CCAWV Executive Director Vivian Parsons and lobbyist Jim Bowen monitored this bill closely as it worked its way through Senate and then House committee hearings. The bill was amended in the House Finance committee to move back to ten county classifications (from the Senate’s proposed five) and give a 12% pay raise across the board to all county officials (instead of at a new term of office as the Senate had written). Additionally, at CCAWV’s pressing, the amended bill included changes to the Auditor’s test – insuring that both county revenues and expenditures were taken into account before certifying a county’s ability to afford the salary hikes. Even though CCAWV’s official position was against a salary increase in 2014, we felt this was the best compromise possible, as it gave Commissions a measure of control. However, the Senate rejected the House amendments, effectively killing the bill in the last hours of the session.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin delivered his State of the State on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. CCAWV Executive Director Vivian Parsons was in the audience as the Governor addressed West Virginians near and far. He likened the work of his term to sowing seeds in a garden, a task he has always enjoyed. Both, noted the governor, require "planning, patience, and foresight."

He began by noting the work West Virginia has done to sow seeds for a healthy financial future. Sound oversight of the Workers' Compensation program has led to important savings for West Virginia, and the state has weathered the storm of the country-wide recession without dipping into reserve funds. Lawmakers and businesses have worked together to secure job opportunities that abound around the Marcellus and Utica Shales. The Governor talked about his commitment to creating jobs, even if he must travel out of the country to do so. While appreciating the unique relationship West Virginia has with Japan, the Governor spent almost two weeks last fall traveling around Europe in the hopes of kindling new, and hopefully prosperous, business relationships.

The County Commissioner’ Association of West Virginia invites and encourages you to attend the CCAWV Legislative Association Meeting & Educational Training Series.  The meeting is scheduled for January 26 – 28, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel, Charleston, WV. 

The tentative schedule is as follows: 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm     CCAWV Board of Directors Meeting
4-00pm – 6:00 pm    Registration 
7:00 pm -  Group Dinner
9:00 pm – ???   Networking Event Sponsored by E.L. Robinson

Monday, January 27, 2014

9:00 am – 12:00 noon    CCAWV Educational Training Series- Resources for County Government
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm    Lunch
1:30 pm  –  5:00 pm    CCAWV Legislative Briefing & Association Business Meeting
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm    CCAWV Legislative Reception at the Marriott (remember to
invite your legislators)
9:00 pm - ???        Networking Event Sponsored by Silling Associates

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

9:00 am-10:00 am    Legislative De-Briefing
10:00 am – 1:00 pm    Commissioners’ Day at the Legislature (go to Capital & visit with
Legislators / get introduced during 11:00 am floor session - (Lunch is on Your Own)

A registration fee of $225 per county attendee is assessed to cover meeting costs and should be made payable to the County Commissioners’ Association of WV.  A block of rooms are available at $129.00 per night by calling the Marriott @ 1-800-228-9290.  The cut-off date for the room rate is December 26, 2013.

Please call if you have questions (304) 345-4639.  We look forward to seeing you there!

In October, The County Commissioners' Association of West Virginia launched its annual Regional Roundtable meeting series. The meetings run from October through mid-December and are hosted by eight counties across the state.

They provide an opportunity for commissioners, legislators, and other elected officials to sit down and discuss issues that affect their particular region. Held prior to the legislative session, they are also a good chance for commissioners to review the CCAWV legislative agenda.

In November, Vivian attended the HUB's board retreat. It is her second year of serving on the board, and she is joined by former commissioners Norm Schwertfeger and Reta Griffith as well as current Fayette County Commissioner Matt Wender.

While it is difficult to reduce the work of the HUB down to a single sentence, its mission has four primary goals: To catalyze community development in West Virginia; act as a liaison to strengthen relationships among community development stakeholders; build community development capacity; and develop and distribute resources for community development efforts.

It is worthwhile for commissioners to familiarize themselves with the HUB and its representatives as it is an excellent resource for community planning and development projects.

Bridging public awareness to the office of County Commissioner

For the second year in a row, a promising young student from Ming o County won the CCAWV Essay Contest. A panel of Judges read scores of submissions before selecting Aerianna McClannahan's thoughtfully written piece. Aerianna McClannahan wowed the judging panel with her impressive vocabulary and deep understanding of county government. This isn't the only honor Aerianna has garnered in recent months - she was also chosen to represent Mingo County at this year's weeklong West Virginia Ambassadors Camp.

        Endorsed Partners

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