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Commissioner Strauss sworn in

takes charge

January 02, 2001

Commissioner Strauss sworn in; takes charge



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - New Berkeley County Commissioner Howard Strauss was sworn into office Tuesday, and shortly afterward was elected president of the three-member commission.

Strauss nominated long-time Commissioner John Evans Wright for the job, but Wright voted against himself and then said he wanted to decline the duties.

"We're entering a new era of government," both at the national and local level, said Wright, who has served seven or eight years as commission president since he first was elected in the 1960s. "I think Howard has a lot of new ideas. He was just elected. I think he's well-connected."

Strauss replaces D. Wayne Dunham, who retired after one, six-year term.

Wright nominated Strauss and he was elected unanimously, including the vote of Commissioner Robert Burkhart.

Strauss has experience on the commission, filling out an unexpired term in 1992. He was elected in 1996, but never served, losing a court fight with Burkhart over the rules of the election.

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As he took the job, Strauss said he would work on his priorities of building a new judicial and county administrative building, opening up county government, making it more modern and making changes to land use regulations. Strauss will serve on The Berkeley County Planning Commission to push his ideas on growth, he said.

Strauss said he would make motions Thursday to move ahead with planning for a new county building and holding at least one weekly County Commission meeting at night.

"We must encourage the public to participate" in the government, he said.

The commissioners also decided to review the process for paying purchase orders.

Burkhart said he was concerned too much money is being spent on purchase orders signed before the County Commissioners have a chance to approve them.

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