Wood County officials hear from Recreation Commission appointees

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission is looking at what is happening at the Wood County Recreation Commission as the county contributes money to operate it.

Two of the county’s appointees on the Wood County Recreation Commission, Sean Andrews and Larry Allen, appeared before the commission Monday to discuss concerns officials have had about the board. The Wood County Recreation Commission Executive Director Vickie Marshall also appeared.

Randy Edge is the other county appointee to the board, but he could not attend Monday’s meeting.

”We have heard some concerns about how things were operating over there and we have seen where people are miffed at (the county) for cutting funding (to the Wood County Recreation Commission),” Commission President Blair Couch said. ”We all knew we were going to be cutting funding by 50 percent.”

The county once gave the recreation commission $30,000 annually with the city and board of education each contributing $30,000 annually. At one point the city cut its funding and the county made up the difference, but now had to return to the original amount, Couch said.

The commission went into executive session, under the provision to discuss personnel matters.

The WCRC has Adult Pickleball, Boys Elementary Basketball, the River Valley Baseball League, Flag Football, Girls Elementary Basketball, Intermediate Basketball, the Parkersburg Fishing Derby, Summer Playground Program, Small Fry Beginner Basketball, Small Fry Basketball, Tee Ball, Tennis, Volleyball, Wood County Elementary Track, Wood County Junior Wrestling and is co-sponsor for the Fall Fun Basketball League. The organization also sponsors the West Virginia State Honey Festival, the Harvest Moon Arts & Crafts Festival and the Holiday in the Park.

In addition to the county’s appointees, the city of Parkersburg has three appointees and the Wood County Board of Education has three appointees to the board.

Andrews appeared before the commission a couple of weeks ago and had voiced concerns about how business was conducted by the commission which had tied into things people in the public were telling the county commission.

At the time, he talked about other funding being cut to the recreation commission. Andrews also talked about how the recreation commission has regular audits done and they come back clean from the state.

”The state audit is just a paper audit,” Andrews had said a couple weeks ago. ”It is not an in-depth detailed audit.”

After the executive session, the county commission announced it has asked the Wood County Recreation Commission for copies of the procedures on how it conducts business.

”We feel once we have seen those, it will alleviate a lot of discussions that have come before us,” Couch said of people saying things about the recreation commission. ”It appears they have made some changes in the last four months based on what we have heard.”

In other business, Wood County 911 Director Rick Woodyard appeared at the request of Wood County Commissioner Jimmy Colombo to talk about 911 response.

Colombo said he saw a news story regarding how 911 calls in Cincinnati were having trouble getting answered.

”I think we do a good job here and I thought Mr. Woodyard could come here and give us a report,” he said.

Colombo talked about how Cincinnati’s calls are handled by an outside company that does that work nationwide. Wood County’s calls are handled by local people brought in and trained to do that work.

”I think we are doing a good job,” Colombo said.

Woodyard said the only problems they have faced is having an influx of multiple calls coming in on a single incident, a house fire or auto accident that just occurred. They will receive the calls until people see crews on the scene.

”It is not uncommon to have 30-40 phone calls come in the first 5-10 minutes of that incident,” Woodyard said.

That sometimes ties up the lines, but center staff are good at getting the lines cleared in a timely manner so other calls can get through, Woodyard said.

Woodyard said people should not hold off calling. They would rather have people call in any incident they see.