Washington County Commission kicks off new year

MARIETTA – Newly elected Washington County Commissioner Ron Feathers said he was glad the agenda was a light one for his first official commissioners’ meeting Thursday.

Although he attended meetings as a candidate for Washington County commissioner, “It’s the first time I got a complete agenda instead of a cover sheet,” Feathers said.

With helpful explanations from Commissioner Tim Irvine and clerk Rick Peoples, Feathers and fellow first-time commissioner David White were politely informed about when to say ‘aye,” which agenda items were only for review and where to sign documents for approval.

White, who sometimes did not add his “aye” to Thursday’s votes, said he was used to roll call votes from when he served as a member of Marietta City Council.

When Irvine first took office, “I spent a lot of time reading back through the minutes to get a feeling for the types of things that came through (at commissioners’ meetings),” he remembered.

As his term as Washington County commissioner begins, White said he has no set plans for his work.

“I have no specific agenda of what to accomplish going forward,” said White.

“I didn’t come in trying to make any sweeping agenda. I want to have a good idea (of the work) before changing things,” he added.

Feathers said he is concerned about spending during his term.

“I think there will be a lot of issues to face…over the next four years when it comes to spending,” said Feathers. “We’ve got to make sure our townships are funded to our best possible abilities and be conservative fiscal stewards of the people’s money.”

White and Feathers want to continue keeping Washington County residents informed about county business, they said.

“I want to set (the commissioners’ schedule) so we can be out in the community more,” White said. “In this day of technology, I don’t see that we need to be married to the courthouse.”

During Thursday’s meeting, commissioners reviewed two sets of comprehensive social service plans for Washington County Job and Family Services, for July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 and July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

The state-required plans show possible services the agency might develop during that two-year period. Services include adoption, case management, adult daycare, home-delivered meals, adult protective services and more.

On Jan. 15, Job and Family Services will host a public forum to discuss the social service plans and accept public input. No location or time for the forum has been set.

In other business:

* Commissioners were informed by two letters that former Washington County safety and loss coordinator Susan Burkhart will volunteer on an as-needed basis for the county’s EMA, county commissioners and the county’s director of human resources, safety and loss.

* During the Washington County commissioners’ organizational meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 14, the commissioners’ appointments to boards, committees and positions in the coming year will be decided.

These include the Duck Creek Watershed Partnership, apiary inspector, Caring Connection, RSVP of Washington County and the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce.

As Thursday’s meeting wrapped, Feathers commented on lessons learned at Thursday’s meeting.

“The first thing I learned today was that you have to use blue pens on official documents,” Feathers laughingly said.