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April is "National County Government Month" and the County Commissioners’ Association of WV (CCAWV) is hosting our annual essay contest for 8th grade students across West Virginia.

There will be a monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place student winners. There will also be a monetary prize for the 1st place winner’s Teacher to be used for classroom activities.

  • 1st Place Student will receive $300 and teacher will receive $300
  • 2nd place Student - $250 
  • 3rd place Student - $150

One of CCAWV’s goals is to increase information and public awareness about county government and the office of County Commissioner. As an initiative of this goal we are excited to partner with West Virginia educators to encourage students to learn and write about their local county governing body, the County Commission. (Teachers, for your convenience, we are attaching our brochure about county commission responsibilities.)

We hit the road in early December for CCAWV’s Annual Regional Legislative Roundtables.  While we still have two meetings in January, the gatherings we have attended so far have been interesting and productive.  The first meeting, held at the Kanawha county courthouse, was very well-attended by county leaders and legislators alike.  As our meeting schedule took us to Doddridge, Summers, Harrison, Marshall, and Fayette counties, we were happy to meet many of the new legislators from each region.  We had lively conversations with them about CCAWV’s legislative priorities and got their perspectives on the upcoming legislative session.  With a massive gap in the state budget looming, this session promises to be a difficult one.  We emphasized over and over in these meetings how strained county budgets are, and repeated our legislative mantra ad nauseum:  No unfunded mandates, and definitely no roads!  We tried to explain how important it is to keep 911 funding in place (and hopefully, give counties some tools to increase revenue streams for 911 if needed). We also went around the room and asked commissioners to share their monthly regional jail bill.  Many legislators were shocked to hear just how much counties are paying.

We know that in February, lawmakers will be desperate to find ways to plug the budget gap. It is our hope that these meetings provide an opportunity for us to show legislators why we are so defensive of the scant county revenue sources currently in place.

We will be headed up to Elkins and Martinsburg next month to round out our schedule of roundtables.  We would really like to thank all the commissioners, staff, and lawmakers who joined us at the meetings so far.  A special thank you to the host counties! As always, as the legislative session draws near, please contact us with any ideas or comments.

Merry Christmas!  I wish all a very happy holiday season and look forward to welcoming the coming New Year!  It promises to be an interesting 2017 Legislative Session.  There will be a lot of new faces at the Capitol and a huge budget hole to try to fill! 

Protecting our current resources will be high on the list for county government.  But for now, hug your loved ones, tell those that you love how much you do, and enjoy family and friends around your holiday table! 

May 2017 bring peace and good fortune to you and yours!

A brand new year is upon us.  I see great things happening for CCAWV in 2017 and we need your involvement.  Please join us in making the coming year a year to remember.

I want to say " thank you to Vivian, Megan and the whole staff at the County Commission Association office for another successful year. They make this organization work for everyone and I do not know what we would do without them. We expect so much from them and they always come thru for us.

Thank you also to the Board of Directors and the many committees that worked so hard and spent so many hours on behalf of the association this year. Their guidance and direction is what makes us continue to move forward as we serve the counties of West Virginia.

I am looking forward to 2017 and wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

On November 30th, newly elected and veteran commissioners from all corners of West Virginia gathered at the Bridgeport Best Western for CCAWV’s 2016 Basic Training.  Every election year, we offer this three day training as a primer, or refresher, for all county commissioners. The many responsibilities of being a commissioner can be daunting. With this training, we strive to prepare new commissioners for the many duties that await them when they are sworn in. 

This year’s training began with a welcome by Harrison County Commissioner and CCAWV Board Member Ron Watson.  CCAWV President Nancy Cartmill followed, telling new commissioners what they could expect when they are sworn into office.  CCAWV Executive Director Vivian Parsons took some time to explain the purposes and benefits of membership in our organization. After lunch, we delved a bit deeper.  Derek Knopp of the West Virginia Ethics Commission explained the Open Meetings Act.  Kelly Nix of the WVU Extension Service was up next to lighten things up with her interactive REAL Colors presentation.  It gave participants not only a deeper understanding of their own strengths, but how they can better work well with others.  Tim McCormick was up next to detail the many benefits of NACo membership, and parliamentarian and WV Delegate Roger Hanshaw closed the day with a lively and detailed explanation of parliamentary procedure.

The next day was equally immersive. The day started with an explanation of county finances by Ora Ash of the WV State Auditor’s Office. William A. “Willie” Parker was up next with an interactive exercise in the Uniform Budget Process, which took the process of creating a balanced budget from the theoretical to the practical.  After lunch, Mark Jeffries from Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC explained the intricacies of hiring, firing, and other personnel issues.  Steve Rawlings of WVCoRP followed by discussing some of the facets of risk management. Jim Copenhaver and Paul Bump of the Harrison County Emergency Services were up next to explain the role of emergency management personnel in the counties.  Dave Barton of the Shenandoah Valley Group rounded out the day by discussing insurance issues, and the unknown future of the Affordable Care Act. Friday morning, the last day of the training, began with an explanation of the Board of Equalization and featuring a representative from all of the other elected officials in the courthouse.  

Ernie Dennison of Nicholas County explained the role of the assessor. Harrison County Sheriff Al Marano was on hand to speak about the sheriff’s duties. Betsy Castle of Preston County spoke on behalf of the Circuit Clerks, and Cindy Rowan of Lewis County explained the job of the County Clerk.

It was a long couple of days filled with a dizzying amount of information.  CCAWV would like to thank everyone who attended and all of our amazing presenters. We look forward to seeing everyone at our Legislative Conference in February!

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