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Kanawha Commission reorganizes staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha County Commission reorganized its staff during Thursday's meeting, moving the former planning director to another position with lesser pay.

Commissioners also accepted the donation of a device that will allow the county's Homeland Security and Emergency Services director to fill his compressed natural gas vehicle at the courthouse.

Former Planning Director Dave Armstrong, who has served in the position since 2008, will now serve as a county economic development director. The reorganization takes effect immediately.

Armstrong's salary was reduced from $57,650 to $50,000, according to figures provided by the commission.

Former Maintenance Director Steve Neddo will now serve as planning director along with his current duties. Neddo's salary will be increased from $45,900 to $60,000.

Commission President Kent Carper would not comment as to why the move was made, saying it was a "personnel matter."

"This was my decision and I made the recommendation that we do this," Carper said. 

Armstrong did not seem upset by the move.

"I think this is a positive move," he said. "I'm excited about the new opportunities."

The reorganization also included six other employees. All of the other moves included an increase in salary.

Other than Neddo's increase, which was the largest, the raises ranged from $4,000 to $7,000.

The county is consolidating its management of building and grounds, the demolition of houses used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and flood and disaster mitigation, Carper said.

Armstrong has been a county employee for seven or eight years, Carper said.

Commissioners also accepted the donation of a device that would allow Dale Petry, director of the county's office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, to fill his compressed natural gas vehicle at the courthouse. 

The device, which will be installed in the courthouse within the next few days, would have cost the county about $17,000, Carper said.

"I was prepared to pay $17,000 today for it," he said. 

IGS Energy is donating the device. It is part of the county's ongoing effort to convert portions of its fleet to alternative fuels, Carper said.

Carper and other county officials continue to attempt to find a private business that would be willing to construct a compressed natural gas filling station in the county.

The county also discussed converting some vehicles to propane during Thursday's meeting. The county discussed the potential conversation with Bret Chandler, a representative with Triana Energy.

Chandler informed commissioners that his company had $500,000 to spend to convert vehicles to propane.

He is also in the process of establishing a propane filling station at the corner of Kanawha Boulevard and Florida Street.

Carper instructed county staff to look at what new vehicles could be converted.

"I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we didn't have two or three converted real soon," he said.

Carper added that he would like to see which alternative fuel performs better -- the compressed natural gas or the propane.

Commissioners also unanimously voted to allow county maintenance crews to paint the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association's shelter as part of a cleanup effort.

The agency has been cleaning the facility since a distemper outbreak in dogs and panleukopenia in cats. The outbreak was reported in late December.

Carper estimated that the paint job would have cost about $10,000 to $15,000.

Commissioners also unanimously voted to reappoint Carper as commission president and Hoppy Shores as president pro tempore.      

Contact writer Paul Fallon at paul.fallon@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.             Follow him at www.twitter.com/PaulBFallon.  


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