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Berkeley Co. IT job decision may have to be revisited

November 22, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Berkeley County Commission's decision last week to create a new information technology job to work at the county's 911 Central Dispatch center might need to be revisited to comply with state law, county attorney Norwood Bentley III said Friday.

Because the salary and benefits for the IT Department job were approved to be paid with E-911 fund fees, Bentley said he needed to make sure that the county clearly has defined the department's relationship with the dispatch center in writing.

Except for the meeting minutes from Thursday, "I don't know whether that it's clear on paper -- it probably should be," Bentley said.

The commission's use of 911 fees for the new position joins an ongoing effort by county leaders to obtain the state's blessing to charge Central Dispatch $1,265,400 in back rent from 2002 to June 2008 and about $100,000 in vehicle insurance, vehicle supplies, workers' compensation and unemployment compensation charges.

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The back rent charges would be subtracted from about $2.4 million that the county owes the E-911 fund, officials have said.

Bentley said county leaders "inadvertently" paid the building rent and other charges from the county's general fund for many years, according to a petition that he filed in June with the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

The county commission in 2004 ordered the establishment of the E-911 fund as a separate account, and the money is supposed to be used to maintain 911 services, according to a copy of the county's revised E-911 ordinance.

The individual hired for the specialist job approved Thursday would be supervised by Gary Wine, the county's information technology director, not Mary Kackley, the county's central dispatch director, Bentley said.

"She came to us with this idea without any coaxing," Bentley said. And Wine is "spending an awful lot of time (at the dispatch center)," he added.

Wine appeared with Kackley at Thursday's meeting to present more than $200,000 in proposed technology upgrades, including replacement of a server and purchase of fire and police software stations and interface licenses.

The salary range for the specialist would be $33,471 to $53,553, according to a job description prepared by Alan J. Davis, the county's human resources director.

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