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New commissioner eager to start

After Steve Teufel is sworn in, the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Commission will be an all-Republican board.

After Steve Teufel is sworn in, the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Commission will be an all-Republican board.

January 02, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Starting Thursday morning, an all-Republican Berkeley County Commission will be in place when Steve Teufel attends his first meeting as the county's newest commissioner.

But Teufel and fellow Commissioner Howard Strauss both said they anticipate professional disagreements.

"It's nice that we have an all Republican court, but I'm sure there are going to be differences," Teufel said Tuesday.

Strauss agreed, saying the three commissioners come from the same party, but are independent on their stances on issues.

"The thought of an all-Republican commission being unified on every issue would be incorrect," he said. "We come from different perspectives."

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Teufel will take the commissioner's seat formerly held by Democrat Bob Burkhart, who decided not to seek re-election. He joins Strauss and John Wright.

Since he defeated Butch Pennington in November's general election, Teufel said he recentlly has been meeting with the county administrator on a daily basis, studying by-laws related to appointments to boards and commissions, and talking to residents and county employees.

After Teufel is sworn in, a commission president will be elected by a majority vote. Strauss was elected president at his first meeting two years ago, and was re-elected a year ago. He declined to say Tuesday whether he will seek the position again.

Strauss said he is looking forward to working with 43-year-old Teufel, since Burkhart, 75, sometimes had to miss meetings after he suffered a stroke in April.

Despite Teufel's "new blood," Strauss said he expects he will still seek advice from the knowledgeable Burkhart, a county native exceptionally familiar with the area.

"With Mr. Burkhart's lifelong experience in the county, it will be difficult to jump in and follow in his footsteps," Strauss said.

Thursday's meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in the county courthouse on the corner of King and Queen streets in downtown Martinsburg.

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