Feb 17, 2012- Interim Sheriff, Clerk Chosen in Lincoln County

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

It's out with the old in Lincoln County after a voter fraud investigation brought down two local leaders.

LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's out with the old in Lincoln County after a voter fraud investigation brought down two local leaders.

Sheriff Jerry Bowman and Clerk Donald Whitten are resigning.

The county commission picked their replacements Friday. The commission chose attorney Jerry Alford to serve as interim sheriff and Myrl Gue to serve as interim clerk.

A couple people who worked for Bowman and Whitten tried to get their jobs.

"This department lacks leadership, and they know I'll step up and do what I need to do," says Jamison Linville, a county deputy who sought the sheriff’s position. He argued it would make for an easier transition to hire someone who already works in the department.

"We know what the law is now. And, if I am in charge, it will be followed to the T,” says Kristie Scraggs, an employee in the clerk’s office who applied for the clerk’s position.

But, the county commission had a different plan. Commissioner Charles Vance, in particular, expressed concern about allowing existing employees to move up to the top positions.

“I think one of the things we need to get by here in Lincoln County is nepotism and cronyism. That's really the basis of a lot of what we see go on around here. And, I don't want anybody to think that just because someone works at the court house, they can get a job," says Vance.

Gue currently serves as mayor of West Hamlin and will have to resign that position to take the clerk’s job.

“I have something to offer. And, I'd like to give something back to this county," says Gue.

Alford said in order to take as over as sheriff, he would transfer his responsibilities as an attorney in the county to another person, so that he could focus on the sheriff’s position full time.

“They have no connection to the prior shenanigans that went on here in the county," says Vance.

These men will serve until the end of the year when the next election happens. The newly elected sheriff’s and clerk’s terms would begin Jan. 1, 2013.

Commissioner Thomas Ramey voted for the sheriff's replacement, but then abstained from the vote on the clerk saying he was doing so “out of respect for people in the county.”

But, he didn't elaborate beyond that.

The local Democrats and Republicans still have to meet to nominate people to run in the clerk's race. The sheriff’s position was already on the ballot this year.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Supporters say West Virginians will avoid steep rate hikes if electric utilities can cover hefty fuel costs by selling bonds. But others warn that pending legislation on the topic takes the debate over energy and power plants in the wrong direction.

The House Finance Committee heard both views Friday at a public hearing for the bill. It would allow the Public Service Commission to consider and approve request by utilities to issue financing bonds. The commission regulates utilities and the rates they charge.

Appalachian Power is seeking such permission. It says bonds will provide up-front cash to recover $350 million from increased coal prices. Alternatives include a one-year rate hike of 30 to 40 percent.

Supporters include AARP and manufacturers. The West Virginia Environmental Council is among the bill's critics.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers have resurrected a bill that would require health insurance plans to cover pregnancy care and contraception for insured daughters and wives.

The Senate Banking and Insurance committee amended and approved the bill Thursday. The same committee rejected the measure last week in part because of concerns over the $12 million estimated cost for the state to extend the benefit to its own employees.

Bill sponsor Sen. Ron Stollings said the measure was amended to exempt certain types of contraception, like the morning after pill.

Stollings said the estimated cost is misleading because it represents three years of state insurance costs and does not reflect any savings to the state's Medicaid program. The cost includes pregnancies of dependent daughters who are under 26 years old.
 

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