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4-H position gets money from county

March 01, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The last step needed to save Jefferson County's 4-H position was taken Thursday when the Jefferson County Commissioners pitched in $15,000 in county money to help pay the salary for the position.

The rest of the funding will come from West Virginia University, said County Commissioner Jane Tabb.

WVU will now post the job, said Tabb.

West Virginia University had originally considered hiring a program coordinator to replace retiring 4-H agent Jim Staley at an entry level salary of $21,000, which caused widespread concern in Jefferson County's agriculture community.

Under that plan, the program coordinator would have been supervised by the county agent in Morgan County.

More than 500 kids and young adults participate in the thriving 4-H program in Jefferson County and Staley voiced concerns that those numbers would drop without a full-time director.

Staley said a full-time director is needed to recruit new adult leaders for the individual 4-H clubs, coordinate countywide 4-H events and raise money for the organization.

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About 100 people attended a public meeting on Dec. 6 at the WVU Extension office in Bardane to express their concerns to WVU officials about the possibility of WVU not funding the position.

An official with the West Virginia University Extension office said it is not a situation that is unique to Jefferson County.

Reconsideration of the 4-H extension agent position in Jefferson County is the result of a new budgeting process started by WVU, said Sue Black, associate director of the WVU Extension office.

Any time a position becomes vacant within the extension service, funding for the position is temporarily lifted to give administrators a chance to weigh money spent on the position against all the other needs of the system statewide, said Black.

The $15,000 from the commissioners will help fund the position from this July through June 2003, said Tabb.

The funding for the position will have to be reviewed during the next budget cycle, Tabb said.

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