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The West Virginia Daily News
Greenbrier County Commission considers new retirement package for 911 dispatchers
By CAROLYN CLEATON,
LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVDN) – The Greenbrier County Commission held a regular meeting on May 23, where they were presented with a proposal for a new retirement package for 911 dispatchers by Dean Meadows, director of the 911 state commission.
In 2022, the state legislature passed a bill allowing new hires in county 911 programs to participate in the Emergency Medical Services Retirement System (EMSRS) instead of the previous Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). To permit new hires this choice, the county commission must sign a resolution. The primary differences between the two systems are the number of years worked and age of the employee required for qualification.
Russel Emrick, deputy director of Kanawha County 911, said that many recent high school graduates are hired for dispatcher jobs. However, the demanding nature of the position means that most cannot continue for the 50 years required by the PERS program. Meadows stated that the EMSRS retirement program requires fewer years on the job and a lower retirement age. He also noted that job changes within the county service system could result in a switch between programs without causing 911 employees to lose all benefits.
If Greenbrier County signs the resolution, it will provide the legislature with more feedback on whether the change should also be made for current employees. The commission took the information for discussion and action at a later date.
In other news, WV Helping Hands, a new program located in the old Ronceverte hospital and managed by Amy Hubbard, announced its first offering: a public meal program. Hot lunches will be provided on different days than those offered by area churches.
Fiduciary Cindy Alley presented 11 estates for closure, and the Arts and Recreation department transferred funds for Greenbrier Girls Softball and the county 4-H camp.
The Greenbrier Board of Education reimbursed the county for law enforcement overtime at county schools.
Two local middle school students received honorable mentions and $50 prizes in the County Commissioners Association essay contest. The commission congratulated student Lydia Jackson and her teacher Michael Anderson.
The Greenbrier County 4-H Extension recommended hiring Olivia Simms as the 4-H program assistant, which the commission agreed to.
A construction bid for the exterior of the home confinement office in Ronceverte was received and will be reviewed. T
he commission voted for approval of the Victim Advocate (VOCA) grant applications for the prosecutors’ and sheriff’s offices, which are due at the beginning of June.
Finally, breaker boxes have been installed in the new courthouse addition, allowing for the hookup and function of all electronics in the building. The only remaining task before occupancy is the completion of phone services between the old and new sections of the courthouse.