ELIZABETH - The Wirt County Commission is looking for a new director of the Office of Emergency Services following the dismissal Tuesday of Bo Wriston.
Wriston said Tuesday he had been terminated from the Emergency Services and Floodplain Management positions in Wirt County.
Wirt County Commission President Bob Gunnoe confirmed Wriston's dismissal, but declined to comment on specific reasons for the commission's action.
"We had some issues and we just wanted to move in a different direction" with the position, Gunnoe said.
The county commission will soon start a search for a new director and will seek suggestions from county agencies, he said. The director's position is important, but Gunnoe said Wirt County is well served by existing agencies in an emergency.
The position was volunteer at one time and Wriston was the volunteer director in 2012 when the commission decided to make it paid, Gunnoe said.
The salary is covered by the county and by the state of West Virginia.
"Our plan is to keep it a paid position as long as the funding is available," Gunnoe said.
Wriston said Tuesday it has been an "honor and privilege" to work with the citizens of Wirt County and other emergency management professionals and citizens around the Mid-Ohio Valley. He referred to comments he made on a Facebook page.
"In my short stay of just three years, we have been able to greatly enhance capabilities here in Wirt, and what was a destitute program was revived and given new life," Wriston said. "I have endeavored to put as much passion, energy, commitment and dedication into the program as possible and have been overwhelmed with the level of support, friendship, guidance and mentorship I have received from so very many."
Wriston said he has offered to assist with the transition to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities. He will continue as the parttime floodplain manager for Doddridge County.
Several programs and activities which he was actively involved in as emergency services director will be placed on hold, Wriston said. The Wirt Emergency Services Facebook page will stay published as it is an official government document, however no new posts will be made until the position is filled, he said.
All Nixle alerts and weather warnings will stop, along with public safety classes offered through the OES program such as the quarterly offered CPR/AED classes, he said. The Wirt County Community Emergency Response Team program also is suspended, Wriston said.
"I encourage every citizen of our great county to actively engage and volunteer to support our local First Responders, and to prepare yourself and your family for times of crisis and disaster," Wriston said. "Only by working together can we hope to have a strong, vibrant Emergency Management program that is of benefit to every citizen in the county."