POINT PLEASANT — Discussions on the effects from the June 29 derecho and how Mason County can be more prepared are still ongoing, and at Thursday’s meeting of the Mason County Commission, Tony Jones was appointed as Mason County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator.
In addition to Jones discussing his potential duties as CERT coordinator, also present was Chuck Blake, director of Mason County Emergency Management, who encouraged the commissioners to appoint Jones and assured them he was the right man for the job.
“He’s very aggressive and will do a good job for us,” Blake said about Jones.
Blake discussed what Jones would do as CERT Coordinator, saying after the derecho, the biggest problems was not being able to communicate with the public and the lack of volunteers. Blake said Jones would be in charge of gathering volunteers during emergencies and that his job is not to replace firemen and other volunteers during these emergencies, but to provide additional support during these times when more volunteers are needed.
Jones added that Mason County is currently one of 15 CERT counties in West Virginia and that training opportunities for volunteers who wish to work with him and the CERT program are approaching.
Following Blake, RC Faulk with Mason County 9-1-1 presented the commission with a Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP), which commissioners signed and approved. When describing the plan, Faulk said it would help outline certain procedures regarding rescue efforts during emergencies, again like the June 29 derecho. Faulk continued, saying if Mason County had such a plan it would also help the county’s eligibility for some grants and funding opportunities.
In other commission news, County Clerk Diana Cromley discussed the new security measures at the Mason County Courthouse, discussing the possibility of attorneys acquiring a pass of some kind which would permit them to enter the courthouse without being subject to a search and without going through the metal detector. Cromley continued, saying the Cabell County Courthouse currently has this option available for attorneys and she was unsure if this was something Mason County would be interested in.
Cromley also mentioned the possibility of this being a potential source of some revenue for the county. Commissioners also brought up the scenario of courthouse employees wanting the same privilege if the option is available for attorneys. Cromley and the commissioners stated more discussion on this topic was needed and further investigation into the security measures of other West Virginia courthouses would need to be done, to help inform their decision.
Mason County Commissioners present at this meeting were Rick Handley, Miles Epling, and Bob Baird. In addition to Cromley, also present was County Administrator John Gerlach.
The Mason County Commission will meet again at 4 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2012, at the Mason County Courthouse.