POINT PLEASANT — There will soon be three more deputies on the roads in Mason County.
At the most recent Mason County Commission meeting, Sheriff Greg Powers met with commissioners to discuss hiring three additional deputies to at least maintain the amount of staff the department had a year ago.
Powers said in August 2012, his department had 18 deputies and that number had dropped to 15 by August 2013. Powers said calls into his department which solely came from Mason County 9-1-1 were at 3,900 so far this year, in comparison to last year’s 5,019 total calls. Powers said in 2012 his department averaged 418 calls a month, this year, that number had gone to an average of 488 calls per month. This further breaks down to 41 calls per month per deputy. In addition, Powers said his department had made 252 arrests so far this year in comparison with 331 total arrests for the year of 2012.
“We don’t have the people to get done what we need to get done,” Powers told Commissioners Rick Handley and Tracy Doolittle.
Powers said the base salary of a new deputy is $31,000. Powers said after reviewing his budget and staff salaries, he needed an additional $10,000 in his budget to make those three hires happen. The commissioners and County Administrator John Gerlach discussed and suggested moving $10,000 from the department’s equipment fund into the general fund to help finance the positions. The commission then approved the hire of James N. Lee, III, formerly of the Mason Police Department and Matthew Stewart, the latter of which will need to be sent to the academy for training. The third candidate was still in the process of being determined and will be up for approval at the next commission meeting on Sept. 12.
In other commission news:
A group of cycling enthusiasts in the county requested the commission order signs through the West Virginia Division of Highways denoting bicycling areas in Mason County, including sections of W.Va. 817, W.Va. 62 in New Haven and CR 12 (Fairgrounds Rd.). The commission agreed to look into getting the signs to promote bicycling and safety for the cyclists traveling the roads.
Commissioners received letters of recommendation for James Pierce and Tim Hunt from the Mason County PSD from Lori Nohe, warden at the Lakin Correctional Center. The two men were commended for assisting the prison’s maintenance staff with a water main break.