Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 3, 2013

Hardy County petition targets two of three commissioners

Residents challenging ambulance fee ordinance, purchase of building

MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — The attorney representing a group of Hardy County residents said he is filing a petition to oust J. Michael Teets, president of the Hardy County Commission and Commissioner William E. Keplinger Jr.

In an interview Friday, attorney David Judy said the 30-page petition with a 200-page attachment would be filed in Circuit Court Monday.

“We have 700 signatures on the petition. We’re going to get them off the commission and make the ordinance go away,” Judy said.

Two of the issues being addressed include the passing of a special emergency ambulance service fee ordinance of $120 a year, and the purchase of a $1.13 million building to house the ambulance/rescue squads.

The voting originators of the petition feel the commissioners acted without public input and public approval.

Judy said he was hired to get the two commissioners removed from office. “That is my job and that is what I intend to do,” he said.

“It is hard to remove public officials from office. However I think the evidence will show they certainly never had a public meeting. There is nowhere in the minutes where a public meeting was ever considered.”

Commissioner A.J. Wade said two meetings were held sometime in July.

“Over 100 people attended the first public meeting. Based on the comments the people were very much opposed to the ordinance,” Wade said.

Wade said approximately 90 people attended the second meeting and they too were very much opposed.

Judy said the seven-page ordinance passed but was never voted on in a public meeting.

The petition to remove both commissioners claims official misconduct, malfeasance and neglect of duty in the processes of passage of the “Special Emergency Ambulance Service Fee Ordinance” by waste of public funds, violating the public trust, ethical violations of office and disregarding the will of the public and for other causes provided by statue (voting outside of agenda and meeting outside published meeting, taxing against the will of the public).

“This has been a real mess,” said Teets in an interview Friday evening,

Teets said it all started two or three years ago when the existing rescue squad was found billing Medicare incorrectly.

“As a result they were fined $1 million, which caused them to go bankrupt,” Teets said.

There has been no mention as to why the billing was done incorrectly or who was to blame for the errors.

Regardless, Teets said the county needs ambulance service.

Speaking of the petition, Teets said, “They are trying to make this situation worse than it is. There are more voters in favor of the $120 a year fee than against.”

Wade isn’t part of the legal action, nor is he in favor of the ordinance or purchase of the building.

“I refused to sign the special ordinance. I’m very much opposed to the manner in which it was (implemented),” Wade said.

“I also voted against the purchase of the building.”

Wade said the commission met on July 16, where a motion was made not to purchase the building and not to impose the ordinance.

“Then on Aug. 2 a motion was made to buy the building and impose the fee. It passed. I voted against it. That was a 180 degree turn around in a two week period,” Wade said.

“I don’t understand why the sudden change. That is what has caused this whole controversy.”

The $1.13 million building, Wade said, was designed as a fire or ambulance station. It is currently being repaired and remodeled.

Regarding the ordinance fee, Wade said, it applies to households but does not apply to businesses like Pilgrim’s Pride.

“I think that is wrong. I also think if we’re going to have a means of collecting or raising money for an ambulance service the proper thing would be a levy rather than a fee,” Wade said.

Teets said Wade is against everything that has to do with the building and the ambulance service.

The number of names needed to initiate removal of the two commissioners is unclear.

“The law says to initiate a proceeding of removal a petition has to have at least 1 percent of the voters. We have 4,500 voters. One percent would be 450 signatures,” Wade said.

However Teets said the figures are calculated on the voters that voted in the last election, which would change that number. He said he wasn’t sure how much it would change.

“The only thing I know is that we haven’t done anything wrong. I am going to do everything I can to provide this service to our people,” Teets said.

Text Only
Local News
  •  Easter grass Easter grass

    Kamryn Rice, 7, of Flintstone, finds and bags a plastic egg during Cumberland’s annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday afternoon at Constitution Park. Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with students from Frostburg State University’s Recreation and Parks Management program and the 4-H Youth of Allegany County, the afternoon also included games, relay races, face painting, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4-H Hare Raiser Club, as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny. The eggs contained candy and other treats.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Business community wary of minimum wage increases

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County businesses are certain to be impacted by the increase in Maryland’s minimum wage, set to reach $10.10 an hour by July 2018 under a law championed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

    April 20, 2014

  • Tipped workers left behind in pay hike action

    ANNAPOLIS — Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.

    April 20, 2014

  • Views vary among Americans when it comes to hourly rate

    CUMBERLAND — Even among those who have worked minimum wage jobs, views on the minimum wage can differ.
    “Minimum wage has to exist. There is no question there, so whatever it is, it will be called ‘minimum wage’. But it should not be below a living wage,” said Bonita Quick of Cumberland.

    April 20, 2014

  • Income guideline change will increase WIC recipients

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Raised income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will increase the number of those served in West Virginia by about 10 percent, according to the state health officer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

    ANNAPOLIS — Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.

    April 20, 2014

  • Allegany County emergency medical services honorees and supporters Allegany, Garrett emergency responders honored

    MCHENRY — The 75 people from Allegany and Garrett counties who were involved with two exceptional emergency medical services calls in 2013 were presented with awards at the recent Night for Stars program held at the Wisp Resort.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lexis Trickett meets with Gov. Martin O’Malley Ninth-grader among 30 at inaugural event

    OAKLAND — Lexis Trickett, a ninth-grade student at Southern Garrett High School, was among 30 girls who attended Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership Forum for Women and Girls recently in Annapolis in celebration of Women’s History Month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • School immunization requirements change

    CUMBERLAND — Changes to school immunization requirements by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the next school year.

    April 20, 2014

  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Marathoners Celebrate Easter With Tradition Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction