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Upshur County court hires maintenance chief but not road engineer

By Christina Lane
Jan. 15, 2013 at 11 p.m.

Upshur County commissioners hired a new building maintenance supervisor Tuesday, but postponed action on hiring someone to lead the road and bridge department.

After meeting in closed session, commissioners agreed to continue seeking applicants related to hiring a road and bridge engineer or administrator with Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka saying he did not believe any of Tuesday's interviewees were the right fit for Upshur County.

The court interviewed four people for the position: Walt Lehmann, who is an engineer, and three former county commissioners - Glenn Campbell, James Crittenden and Tommy Stanley.

With the county's unit road system, a certified engineer manages the roads in all of the precincts.

Before the unit road system, each commissioner was responsible for the roads in his or her precinct. The terms of the unit road system state that should the county not find a suitable engineer, a road administrator can be appointed.

Berka motioned to keep the application process open until Jan. 31 and then consider interviewing more applicants at a meeting on that day. Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler said one applicant was unable to come to Gilmer on Tuesday to interview, and the county was still receiving applications as late as 3 p.m. Monday.

Crew Chief Danny Thompson is overseeing the department until a permanent engineer can be hired. Engineer Eric Fisher resigned in November.

Following that discussion, commissioners unanimously voted to hire Chuck Mears of Gilmer as building maintenance supervisor. Mears previously worked for the county in the building maintenance department.

The court interviewed Mears as well as David Erb for the position. Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer motioned to hire Erb; however, it failed for lack of a second.

Berka then moved to appoint Mears, and Pct. 2 Commissioner Cole Hefner seconded. Spencer and Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry also voted in favor.

As a full-time building maintenance supervisor, Mears will draw an annual salary of $15,120, Fowler said. Mears also receives Social Security, and Fowler said that should he earn more than $15,120 annually, he would lose money from his Social Security check.

Mears takes over a position that was occupied for 19 years by Charles Daniels. Commissioners fired Daniels in November after it was found that he violated trusty labor laws. Maintenance employee Tim Saxon was temporarily assigned to fill the position.



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