Governor hands out grants

CHARLESTON – Wood County has been awarded a $12,000 grant for a records management project in the circuit clerk’s office.

Gov. Earl Tomblin announced 30 grants totaling $427,540 have been awarded for records management and preservation projects. The projects, approved by the Records Management and Preservation board, are to improve management, storage conditions, access and preservation of public records in county government offices.

The grant for Wood County will be used to aid with review of case files, implement the records retention schedule and purchase a high-volume, cross-cut shredder in the circuit clerk’s office. The original grant request was for $17,000, according to Wood County grant coordinator Toni Tiano. The grant requires a 10 percent cash match from the county.

“They have older divorce case files, dating between 1951-1974, which are currently stored in the old sheriff’s department law enforcement building. There are 14 file cabinets filled with these documents,” Tiano said.

The majority of the grant funds will pay overtime for deputy circuit court clerks to go through each of the files, determine what is necessary to be scanned and which of the records can be shredded.

It’s part an effort to address ongoing storage concerns the circuit clerk is facing, Tiano said.

“We asked for a scanner in the grant, but it was turned down,” the grant coordinator said.

The supreme court maintains a retention schedule for legal documents and the circuit clerk’s office is required to abide by that schedule.

“It is hoped this will be just the first in a process over a period of several years in getting these issues addressed. You can only write one grant for one year at a time. This year the circuit clerk chose these divorce records, hoping to do them first,” Tiano said.

“Every West Virginia county, and the people who call them home, have a story to tell and these grant funds will help preserve those stories for generations to come,” Tomblin said of the grant awards.

The Records Management and Preservation Board staff will provide assistance in setting up the grant projects, which officially begin July 1, 2013.

Other neighboring counties receiving grants included Gilmer County Commission, $9,545, to digitize and microfilm deed index books and plat maps in the county clerk’s office. Jackson County Commission was awarded $20,682 to purchase movable track shelving to enhance access to case files in the circuit clerk’s office. Roane County will get $2,227 to purchase a high-volume, cross-cut shredder to dispose of confidential case files that have exceeded the records retention requirement in the prosecuting attorney’s office.