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Berkeley County Council votes for additional prosecutor

March 18, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council Thursday voted 4-1 to give Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely enough money to hire an additional prosecutor as part of the county's fiscal 2012 budget.

Council member Anthony J. "Tony" Petrucci voted against the addition of $64,870 in salary and benefits to Games-Neely's budget because the funding is to be taken from the county's operations account.

Council members later this month are set to approve a $24.5 million budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The current budget stands at $25.4 million, up from $23.1 million at the start of the fiscal year on July 1, 2010, according to County Administrator Deborah Hammond.

That reflects eight budget revisions, which included the addition of revenue carried over from the 2009-10 fiscal year, Hammond said.

Games-Neely reiterated the need for an additional prosecutor to respond to added workload triggered by appellate rule changes instituted by state Supreme Court of Appeals.

"We're getting slammed," Games-Neely said in an interview after the council voted for the additional person.

In other action on Thursday, the council approved the poll workers and polling locations for the May 14 special gubernatorial election.

After the meeting, Deputy County Clerk Bonnie Woodfall said early voting for the election is scheduled to begin April 29 and continue through May 11.  The general election is scheduled for Oct. 4.

Senate Bill 581, which lawmakers passed last week, reduced the early voting period from 15 to 10 days and allows early voting on Saturday for all elections.

The bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson and Senate Minority Whip Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, was made effective from passage, according to the state legislative reference and information  website.  

Woodfall said the reduction in days of early voting reduces the cost of the unexpected election.

The winner of the special election for governor will serve the remaining portion of former Gov. Joe Manchin's four-year term, which ends in 2012.

Six Democratic candidates and eight Republicans are vying for their party's respective nomination in the May primary.

The last day for residents to register to vote in the primary election is April 25, according to the Office of the Secretary of State.

More information about the special election, including a list of candidates and how each of them can be contacted via mail, email and telephone, can be found on the Internet at http://www.sos.wv.gov/.

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