County Commission rules ACO can’t carry pistol or shotgun on duty

200px-Map_of_West_Virginia_highlighting_Greenbrier_County.svgBy Sarah Mansheim

Greenbrier County Animal Control Officer Michael McClung will have to leave his guns at home. Well, at least some of them.

On Tuesday, the Greenbrier County Commission approved the new policies and guidelines for the animal control department and stated that the controversial ACO would no longer be allowed to carry a handgun and a 12 gauge shotgun during his work duties. He will be allowed to carry a .22 rifle.

According to Commissioner Woody Hanna, McClung had routinely carried all three weapons while at work. Now, he has been outfitted with a net gun, mace and a bite stick, along with his .22, and will continue to carry out his duties as ACO with that equipment.

The commission was charged with the task of creating a policy and procedures manual for the animal control department after McClung shot a dog in Lewisburg last April, creating public outcry and demands for his firing. According to Hanna, the newly created manual has been reviewed by the commission, the ACO, the Greenbrier County Animal Shelter, the Greenbrier County Health Department, the Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney and the sheriff.

The commission also appointed commission assistant Kelly Banton as supervisor to the animal control officer, because, Hanna said, she is in the county commission office everyday and is knowledgeable of the daily goings on in the courthouse. The commissioners work part time and do not keep office hours.

Hanna did not elaborate on any other portions of the new manual during the meeting.

In other business, the commission voted to enter into mediation with New River Community and Technical College in order to attempt to resolve the three-year-long litigation between the county and the college over a swimming pool.

The pool was to be located on the community college campus, and the county was to pay for it with $1 million in bed tax funds. After it was ruled that the funding was an illegal use of bed tax, Raleigh Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick III ordered the $1 million returned to the county. What remains at issue is $450,000 that the school spent on the project before the ruling.

County Commissioner Michael McClung said at the meeting that Kirkpatrick had offered to act as mediator at no charge, and Hanna noted that the commission’s attorney had advised them to enter the mediation.

Commissioner Lowell Rose noted that $90,000 has already been spent by the county on attorneys fees and court costs.

“This has been going on for years now. It’s caused a lot of division between the county and the college,” Rose said. “We should have never been in this position. Let’s get it finalized and get it off our back.”

McClung pointed out that neither Rose nor Hanna were on the commission when the pool agreement was made in 2012, and that he had voted against it when it had been approved.

Also:

• $46,506.40 in arts and recreation funding was transferred to the county’s public libraries.

• The commission is seeking volunteers for the Fire Levy Appeal Board. They hope to recommend at total of nine individuals from the Lewisburg Fire Department’s first due area – three from the Maxwelton area north of Lewisburg, three from the Muddy Creek Mountain area west of town, and three from the Caldwell area west of town – to Lewisburg City Council. Lewisburg will then choose one person from each area to serve. Contact the County Commission if you would like to volunteer.

• Michael S. Rose was approved to serve on the Greenbrier County Airport Authority. There is a vacancy on the board since former commission president Betty Crookshanks announced her retirement from the authority last month.

• Woody Hanna announced six members of the newly formed EMS advisory board. They are Dr. Bridgett Morrison, Jo Long, Don Ratliff, Bill Snyder, Ron Sigrist and Frankie Jones. Hanna said he’s set to add one more individual.

 

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