$7K pledged to DAV transportation program

NEW CUMBERLAND — The Hancock County Commission agreed Thursday to pledge $7,500 to the Disabled American Veterans veteran transportation program.

Starting July 1, the state had stopped funding the program, which transports veterans to and from appointments at the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Veterans Hospitals.

The DAV is responsible for the vans used to transport veterans and the funding was for paying the drivers.

Robert Cheeks, one of the drivers, has attended the last two commission meetings to share information and to express concerns.

The Hancock and Brooke County Commissions are working together to find a solution to ensure this service continues.

“We want to take care of our veterans. They’ve done so much for us,” said Commissioner Paul Cowey.

Cheeks said he also has been communicating with the Brooke County Commission, other drivers, veterans organizations, state representatives and the DAV in an attempt to find a solution. Cheeks reported American Legion Post 45 has agreed to act as an umbrella organization for the Hancock and Brooke County drivers, administering pay checks for the drivers.

The Hancock Commission pledged its share of the suggested $15,000, and is waiting for paperwork to be complete.

The money from the Hancock and Brooke commissions would go into a bank account designated strictly for paying the van drivers. Cheeks committed to attending future meetings to keep the commission updated on the program and the spending of their funding. Cheeks is also hoping the state will reintroduce funding for next year.

In other actions the commission

¯ Renewed the county’s workers’ compensation insurance with Brick Street Insurance.

¯ Agreed to pay sheriff’s deputies working the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift 40 cents more per hour, making it retroactive to July 1.

¯ Reappointed Gary Mooney to the Hancock County Civil Service Commission. The commission interviewed three candidates, but decided to reappoint Mooney for the position.

¯ Agreed to give the Brooke County Committee on Aging $15,000 to assist with providing meals to seniors citizens in Hancock County.

¯ Approved a contract with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families Grant for fiscal year 2019/2020 on the behalf of the Juvenile Mediation Program.

¯ Approved the hiring of Kathryn Ammon, Alannah Blanchard and Megan Stover as part-time workers at the Hancock County Animal Shelter.

¯ Approved the revised memorandum of understanding with the West Virginia Department of Commerce, Division on Natural Resources to construct the new bath houses at Tomlinson Run State Park.

¯ Approved hiring Natasha Obarski as a full-time dispatcher at the 911 Center effective July 15. Obarski was working as a part-time dispatcher with the center.

¯ Approved the resignation of Matthew McCune as a part-time dispatcher with the 911 center.

¯ Approved the 911 Center’s request to advertise four part-time dispatcher positions.

¯ Approved the depository bond with United Bank.

¯ Approved the receipt and custodial agreement from Federal Home Loan Bank on behalf of Hancock County Savings Bank.

¯ Approved hiring James Givens, David Polgar and Jacob Morgan as new probationary deputies effective July 29. Sheriff Ralph Fletcher explained two of these hires are for replacing officers who have retired or resigned and the third is a result of the recently added Prevention Resource Officer position with Hancock County Schools. Fletcher also spoke to the commission about the PRO program.

¯ Commissioner Jeff Davis suggested the commission look into establishing a policy for organizations requesting money from the commission. Davis recommend organizations provide their financial information, such as tax forms and bank statements, to better inform the commission about the organization’s financial standing.

¯ The next meeting will be 2:30 p.m., July 25.

(Riedel can be contacted at jriedel@reviewonline.com)