Commission approves settlement with former employee

ELKINS — Two of the three members of the Randolph County Commission unanimously approved a settlement with a former county employee.

Following a roughly 10 minute executive session, which Commissioner Mark Scott recused himself from, Commission President Mike Taylor and Commissioner Chris See voted to pay former Randolph County Commission Administrative Assistant Donna Haddix $23,333.33 to resolve an undisclosed “personnel matter,” including payment of her legal fees.

During the meeting — prior to the executive session — tensions rose between Taylor and Scott over Scott’s decision to recuse himself. Scott said the reasoning for his recusal was due to implications that he was involved in the filing by Haddix.

“Before you make the motion (for executive session), due to the fact that I was implicated in the allegations by the employee, I wish to recuse myself in this matter,” Scott said.

“But you have been involved in discussions up until this point,” Taylor responded. “I think you are a little late.”

“Well, I recused myself from the last vote. When we went to the training for the summer session, I actually had a conversation with one of the attorneys for the West Virginia court and they actually used that as an example,” Scott replied. “If there is a situation where the employee accuses one of their employers they should recuse themselves.”

“Don’t you think maybe you should have done that a little before now?” Taylor asked Scott. “You’ve been in discussions with all the attorneys. I mean, that’s up to you, but you are a little bit late to recuse yourself. If you were going to do that, you should have done it at the very beginning, not now.”

Following the meeting, Taylor confirmed that Haddix had resigned from her position last week; however, declined to go into detail about the matter.

“The Randolph County Commission acknowledges that it has received and accepted the resignation of Administrative Assistant Donna Haddix effective Aug. 10,” Taylor said. “Ms. Haddix has been a valued employee of the county and a valuable asset to the commission during the past 10 years. The reasons behind her resignation are personnel matters and thus are not appropriate for public comment.”

Scott declined to elaborate on the implications against him after the meeting.

“The fact that it is a personnel matter, I think we should just leave it at that,” Scott said. “I was potentially implicated in the allegations and I felt like however it was handled needed to be a matter for the other commissioners.”

Attempts to contact Haddix were unsuccessful.

Requests for further details into the complaint were declined. The funds will be taken from the coal severance tax budget line.

In other business:

• Commissioners unanimously approved a request from the Mountain State Forest Festival to use the front lawn of the Randolph County Courthouse, from Oct. 2 through Oct. 9. and parking lot of Randolph County Magistrate Court, from Oct. 4 through Oct. 9, during the Mountain State Forest Festival.

• Commissioners unanimously approved a $5,000 funding request from the MSFF, to be taken from the hotel/motel tax budget line, for tables and 100 to 150 formal chairs for use during the Festival.

• Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal from Mt. Generator Service and Universal Engineering in the amount of $19,415 for generator monitoring, generator servicing and replacement of an automatic transfer switch on a generator at the Mill Creek Senior Center. The proposal will cover services on 14 generators throughout the county.

• Commissioners unanimously approved the re-appointment of Betty Biggs to the Helvetia Public Library Board with an expiration date of June 30, 2023.

• Commissioners unanimously approved authority for the commission president to sign forms releasing grant funds in the amount of $130,000, given to North Central Community Corrections by Gov. Jim Justice earlier this month.

• Commissioners unanimously approved the hiring of three part-time dispatchers to the Randolph County 911 Center. Charles Workman will be hired at $12.34 per hour as he is already trained, according to Randolph County Office of Emergency Manager Director Cindy Hart, while Chad Holly and Ramon Goux will be hired at $10.34 per hour. The positions are non-benefited, the three will be placed on a 90-day probation period and their hire is effective Thursday.