PARKERSBURG - Wood County Commission President Wayne Dunn proposed the county hire Kim Coram to coordinate the new Wood County Alternative Transportation System Council.
In mid-July the commission approved legislation creating the council, which will coordinate and plan area trail systems. The final appointments are being made to the 20-member advisory council.
Coram earlier submitted a proposal to the county that she be hired as coordinator for the council.
Kim Coram earlier proposed the Wood County Commission hire her to coordinate the new Wood County Alternative Transportation System Council.
Under the proposal, 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 created for the county, and regularly update the commission on progress with recommendations for the transition of the job responsibilities to county personnel.
Commissioner Blair Couch suggested the municipalities, which will also be represented on the council, be asked to each contribute $100 a month toward the salary of a coordinator and the contract be for a maximum of one year.
The commissioners delayed action on Coram's proposal until they heard back from the cities.
Coram is a Parkersburg City Council member. She said she consulted the city attorney for an opinion regarding any possible conflicts/ethical issues if she were hired for the post and the city of Parkersburg contributed to the salary.
Coram later pulled her proposal to the county.
"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 earlier told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Coram said if the county alone funds the coordinator's council position, it would not present an ethical issue.
At Monday's commission meeting, Dunn urged his fellow commissioners to hire Coram and pay her from the county coffers only.
"It's Kim's plan that the council could be running it on our own within six months to a year. But she has some other contracts she's considering, so we have to decide. It would be about $6,000 for a year. Since it's a conflict if the city contributes, it might not happen," Dunn said. "I would like to see the county go ahead and hire Kim and pay her."
The discussion is to be placed on the commission's next meeting agenda, which is Thursday.
Dunn said earlier he felt Coram was best positioned and most qualified to handle the job of director for the council.
Meanwhile, the commissioners are finalizing appointments to the new trails council.
On Monday, William Crichton, local attorney, and Martha Lamp, a downtown Parkersburg business owner, were appointed as business representatives. Bill Summers was appointed as a North Hills representative. Lt. D.R. McEwuen, a Parkersburg Police Department bike officer, was earlier placed in nomination, but no action was taken on that appointment Monday.
Dunn said the city also wishes to appoint the new city planner.
"And we're still waiting to hear from the Department of Transportation," Dunn said.
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.
Coram was hired earlier by the commission to develop and propose legislation for creation of the council and develop a countywide trail program and website.
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.