CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Patsy Noland, who is entering her third year as a Jefferson County commissioner, was elected president of the commission Thursday in a unanimous vote by her four colleagues.
Noland succeeds Lyn Widmyer in the top slot.
Widmyer nominated Commissioner Frances Morgan for vice president but Morgan lost on a 3-2 vote to Dale Manuel.
Manuel was nominated by Noland. He was supported by himself, Noland and commission newcomer Walter Pellish, who assumed the seat formerly occupied by Jim Surkamp.
The commission chooses new officers every January.
Prior to the votes, the five members praised Surkamp, who lost his bid for a second, six-year term in last year's May primary.
Surkamp was presented with a plaque from his former commission colleagues citing his six years of dedicated service.
All five commissioners had high praise for Surkamp's passion for the job and his constant questioning during meetings.
A common sight was him raising his right forefinger on almost every discussion and issue, as he sought recognition to speak or ask questions.
"You were passionate, you were always turning over rocks, and you continued to question, and these are commendable qualities," Morgan told Surkamp.
Noland said while she often disagreed with Surkamp, she felt that in his heart he felt he had a right to raise questions as much as he did.
Pellish commended Surkamp for his hard work, passion and commitment to the county, while Widmyer noted Surkamp's "deep abiding commitment" to ensuring that there was public access to the workings of the board.
Manuel said he relied on Surkamp as the commission's historian.
Surkamp was elected six years ago to represent the Shepherdstown District on a no-growth platform. Pellish's campaign was based on economic development.
Surkamp thanked the commissioners for their accolades and immediately left them to their meeting.
Each commissioner is responsible for sharing the duty of serving as liaison on the more than two dozens county boards, committees, commissions and organizations. Many meet monthly.
Among them are the planning commission, health department, parks and recreation, economic development, emergency services and public service commission.
Commissioners serve on them in voting and nonvoting capacities.