Two Jefferson Co. agencies to get office space upgrades

May 10, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The Jefferson County Commission Thursday agreed to help two agencies make needed upgrades to their office space.

John Reisenweber, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, asked the commissioners for $17,000 toward a $48,000 renovation of the authority’s offices at 1948 Wiltshire Road in Kearneysville, W.Va.

“We don’t need additional space,” Reisenweber told the commissioners. “What we have needs to be upgraded.”

The building houses three authority employees, including Reisenweber. Two employees of the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board, an authority agency, also work in the building.

The existing workspace is too broken up, Reisenweber said.

“It’s inefficient and not conducive to our normal work flow. There’s a lot of wasted space including a long hall that leads to the conference room.”

Liz Wheeler, the director of the farmland protection program, has to keep files on top of and under a table in her office, he said.

“There are too many doors, which hinder furniture placement, and too little storage space,” Reisenweber said.

The authority expects to have two-thirds of the estimated cost for the renovations. The county commissioners approved their $17,000 share Thursday.

The second request for office space came from Family Court Judge David Greenberg, who presides over the new Eastern Panhandle unit of the West Virginia Juvenile Drug Court.

He told the commissioners that he needs a couple of small rooms for the part-time certified counselors and therapists. He also needs an office for Mary Newlin, the court’s full-time probation officer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Greenberg said he found suitable space in the rear on the third floor of the magistrate court building.

The commissioners agreed to the request.

Greenberg, a former private-practice lawyer, has been a family law judge for three years. He recently was appointed the Eastern Panhandle’s first juvenile court judge by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Justice Brent D. Benjamin has been an early and active promoter of the program.

There are 14 juvenile drug courts in West Virginia, Greenberg said. The cost of running them is paid for by the state.

Juveniles ages 10 to 17 are eligible to have their cases heard in the court. They are referred by teachers and guidance counselors, social service and police agencies, even parents, Greenberg has said.

While some youths are sent to juvenile drug court for conviction on alcohol or substance abuse offenses, the court’s first goal is to try to identify at-risk youths to keep them out of the justice system.

It takes eight months to a year for a juvenile to get through the program. It involves probation, weekly appearances before the judge and counseling and therapy sessions. 

“Parents have to accompany their children to court and the sessions or it will never work,” Greenberg said.

Jefferson County will host the program for all three Eastern Panhandle counties.

The court will open officially June 7 followed by an open house on July 20.

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