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Commission to negotiate for office space for prosecutor

October 10, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Commission agreed on Tuesday to hire an attorney to negotiate a lease for office space for the Brooke County prosecutor.

Current Brooke County Prosecutor David B. Cross, who used his law office for many years, has offered to lease space there to the commission when Assistant County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III takes over the position in January.

The commissioners agreed to hire attorney Michael Gaudio to negotiate for the lease. County Commissioner Tim Ennis said the move was suggested by the state Ethics Commission since Cross, by statute, is the commissioners' usual legal counsel.

Ennis said the county courthouse lacks space for the prosecutor's office. But he said the commission in the future should find its own space for the prosecutor so it will be prepared in the event a future prosecutor is an attorney who operates outside Wellsburg.

County Commissioner Marty Bartz said the commission has been fortunate to have had an arrangement with the Cross Law Office.

Cross hadn't charged the county for the use of his law office by himself and various assistant prosecutors, who included his son David B. Cross, his law partner; and others, like Barki, who weren't employed by his law office.

Previous Brooke County Prosecutors Charles Bell and John Cooper also worked out of their own Wellsburg law offices.

In other business, County Clerk Sylvia Benzo said the Secretary of State's office told her to count all write-in votes cast in the Nov. 6 general election on that night.

The issue arose because Mike Allman, a candidate for sheriff in the primary election, has filed as an official write-in candidate against Chuck Jackson, the winner of a three-way race for the seat in May.

Benzo said results collected from computer cards taken from the county's electronic voting machines won't indicate for whom write-in votes are cast, only that they were cast. To learn the recipients of the write-in votes, a paper record inside the machines must be removed.

In related business, Benzo said Oct. 16 is the last day to register or make changes to one's registration early voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday from Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 at the county courthouse.

Anyone with questions may call (304) 737-3661.

The commission also heard from Sheriff Richard Ferguson, who said about 600 residents have posted their new numbered citystyle addresses.

He said about 12 of 80 Wellsburg residents whose addresses were changed because they didn't comply with citystyle addressing standards have indicated they want to keep their new addresses.

After receiving complaints from a number of Wellsburg residents, Ferguson agreed to see that the addresses were restored except for cases in which residents wanted to keep their new ones.

The sheriff's department has been tasked primarily with assigning new addresses to unincorporated areas of the county, particularly those with rural route addresses.

But Ferguson said he will issue a cautionary note to Wellsburg city officials about addresses he believes aren't clearly recognizable, particularly to emergency departments that don't normally serve the area.

The commission also:

Set trick or treat hours as 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.

Appointed Calvin Heck of Follansbee to the county's planning commission and approved the hiring of emergency medical technicians Duston Burton, Trevor Long and Cherie Brown and first-responder Daniel Keener as part-time employees of the county ambulance service at the recommendation of Bob Fowler, ambulance director.

(Scott can be contacted at

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