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Study ordered on Jefferson County staffing, practices

February 18, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Despite objections by one member who described it as a "back-stabbing" and "unfair" way to deal with Jefferson County government employees, the Jefferson County Commission on Thursday voted to have a study completed on the government's business practices.

Jane Tabb, who voted against the study, said the "thin veil of disguise of the proposal's true intent" was lifted at last week's county commission meeting.

At that meeting, the commissioners met in a closed-door session for about 30 minutes with Paul Raco, head of Jefferson County's planning, zoning and engineering department, Surkamp said.

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Following the executive session, Surkamp made a motion that Raco be terminated from his job with one year's salary as part of a severance deal.

The motion failed for lack of a second.

On Thursday, the commissioners discussed a study on staffing and business practices for all county offices.

Commissioners Dale Manuel, Rusty Morgan, Greg Corliss and Surkamp voted to proceed with the study.

Consideration of the study stemmed from a recent court ruling that mandated how the Jefferson County Zoning Board of Appeals should operate, said Morgan.

Tabb said morale among county workers is low because of discussions about the study, and she described the plan as a "back-stabbing, unfair manner" to deal with county workers.

Instead of the management study, Tabb said the commissioners need to concentrate on other high priority issues, such as working out an agreement with the City of Ranson regarding collection of school impact fees, formulating a budget, working on zoning issues and a county facilities building program.

Tabb said she believes the study's intent is to terminate Raco's employment with the county.

Morgan agreed that the timing of the study was not good.

Manuel emphasized that he was not approaching the study "with any particular witch hunt" against county employees.

Surkamp said he will support whatever the study recommends. If the study says county government is working well, "so be it," Surkamp said.

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