PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners are continuing to make appointments to the new Wood County Alternative Transportation System Council.
The commissioners most recent appointment is Jim Miracle with the Wood County Landmarks Commission. He will represent the historic preservation community. The most recent nominations included Tim Roberts; William Creighton, local attorney, and Martha Lamp, downtown Parkersburg business owner as representatives of the business community.
Lt. D.R. McEwuen, a Parkersburg Police Department bike officer, was also placed in nomination for a position on the council.
"We're still waiting to hear from the Department of Transportation," commission President Wayne Dunn said.
Kim Coram, who earlier submitted a proposal to serve as director/coordinator for the new council, said she has withdrawn the proposal, at least for now, while ethics issues are researched.
Coram, who was earlier hired by the commission to develop and propose legislation for creation of the council and development of a countywide trail program and website, submitted a proposed contract earlier for management of the new council.
Under the proposal, if hired, the county would pay Coram $500 monthly to develop and manage the council, define the roles/responsibilities of the county position that would ultimately become responsible for its long-term management; facilitate public awareness of the council's work to include the update, management and maintenance of the Wood County Trails website previously created for the county and regularly update the commission on progress with specific recommendations for the transition of the job responsibilities to county personnel.
The commissioners decided to ask the municipalities to contribute to the program and that created a potential problem because Coram is a Parkersburg City Council member.
"I have essentially pulled my bid, if the city pays, as a council member, it could be a conflict. I have talked to the city attorney, he said it was a gray area. At this point I don't know what's going to happen," Coram said earlier.
Coram said if the county funds the coordinator's council position, it would not present an ethical issue.
Dunn said earlier he felt Coram was best positioned and most qualified to handle the job of director for the council.
Commissioner Blair Couch had suggested asking the cities to contribute $100 a month toward the council coordinator salary and that any contract with Coram be for a maximum of one year. The commissioners then delayed action on Coram's original proposal.
In mid-July the commission approved the legislation creating the council to coordinate and plan area trail systems.
The 20-member advisory council is to consist of representatives from the cities of Parkersburg, Vienna, Williamstown and North Hills; West Virginia University at Parkersburg; Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council; DOT; West Virginia State Parks as well as representatives of trail users, business, private landowners, Wood County Parks, and the historical community.
The volunteer advisory board members will serve two-year terms. Appointees may be reappointed for no more than four consecutive terms. The board will be permitted to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred.
The county previously paid Coram $4,500 plus an additional $300 for promotional materials for development of a trails program and a trails website at theopam.com/communities. Under a separate contract, she was paid $2,500 to develop proposed legislation for creation of the alternative transportation council.
According to the legislation, the council will facilitate a countywide system of interconnected landscape linkages, conservation corridors, greenbelts, transportation and recreational corridors and trails, regional parks and preserves using land-based trails that connect urban, suburban and rural areas of the county and facilitate creation and expansion of the countywide system of water trails. Coram earlier told commissioners trail development will probably be funded through grants.