Brooke commission to lease space for prosecutor

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Commission agreed to lease space in the Cross Law Office for the county’s new prosecutor and set a new meeting time at its first meeting of the new year.

The commissioners on Wednesday agreed to lease space at the law office for Prosecutor Joseph Barki III for $2,076 per year.

The amount includes a share of utilities – gas, electricity, water, telephone and garbage collection services paid the law office.

It was requested by former Prosecutor David B. Cross, who worked out of his private office for many years and didn’t charge the county. Prior to his election in November, Barki was one of two assistant prosecutors not employed by Cross who also worked there.

Tim Ennis, who was named the commission’s president Wednesday, said either party may withdraw from the lease during the year and he hopes by next year to find another location for the prosecutor and his assistants.

“My goal is for the county not to be renting space from anybody by this time next year,” Ennis said, noting the commission also rents space at the Progressive Bank building on Charles Street for the county’s magistrate and family courts.

The commission pays about $1,700 per month for the space there.

Ennis said the commissioners have visited several potential locations for the the courts and the prosecutor and his staff but costs to renovate the sites is a concern.

The commission had made plans to relocate the courts to the former Brooke County Museum at Sixth and Main streets. That plan has been tabled because of concerns about the cost to renovate the former museum to meet conditions set by the state Supreme Court.

The courts were moved to the Progressive Bank building from the first floor of the county courthouse following the 2004 flood, But the commission has since learned the areas of the building occupied by the courts, which are separate from the bank’s first floor lobby and offices, don’t meet state fire codes.

The commission also set a new time for its weekly meetings, moving them from 5 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. each Tuesday.

Asked if the meetings will be accessible to the public, Ennis said that was considered and the commissioners are willing to meet with people at other times, if needed.

Jim Andreozzi, the commission’s newest member, said if access for the public becomes an issue, the meeting time should be revisited.

In recent years, the commission held one meeting each month at 6 p.m., but the meetings received little turnout and the 5 p.m. meeting time was restored.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, which was moved because of the holiday, the commission:

Appointed Ennis president, and Andreozzi president pro-tem, which means he will preside over meetings in Ennis’ absence.

Scheduled fiduciary hearings, at which matters involving estates are discussed, for the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30 a.m.

Observed a moment of silence for Terry Dick, former Brooke County constable and Wellsburg police chief, who died Saturday. Dick, who was 69, was involved most recently with city-style addressing efforts headed by former Sheriff Richard Ferguson.

The commission recently agreed to employ Dick’s wife, Cheryl, on a full-time basis. She and Terry had begun the project as volunteers.

Sheriff Chuck Jackson said he will hire someone to fill Terry’s part-time position on the effort, which he said is nearly complete.

Heard from Ruby Greathouse, secretary of the museum board, who said the first concert at the new Brooke County Museum and Cultural Center was attended by more than 100 and other events have been scheduled for the next several months.

Held Dec. 13, the concert featured the Brooke High School Madrigal Choir and a Christmas program featuring children under the direction of Carol Allman.

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