Putnam Health Board gains one, loses two

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Putnam County Commissioner Andy Skidmore was appointed to a five-year term on the county Board of Health during the County Commission meeting Tuesday.Commission President Joe Haynes, whose term on the Health Board was to expire in 2014, will leave June 30, a year early. Health Board member Gary Sigman's term is up June 30.The Board of Health voted Monday to lay off its entire staff, pending approval from the West Virginia Division of Personnel Board. The Health Board is more than $215,000 in debt and plans to contract for services from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to avoid further insolvency."We don't want to have two commissioners on Health; we agreed last November that [Skidmore] would take Health and Transportation and I would take Solid Waste and Work Force Investment," Haynes said Tuesday."With everything that's going on with Health, we didn't want to make the change in January; we wanted a better transition so that he could go to meetings and see what going on so he's up to speed on everything."Putnam health officials expected the Health Department to pull in more money when it moved to its current location several years ago. The department also had to pay more than $100,000 to defend itself against two employees who said they were illegally fired.Skidmore will serve on the Health Board through 2018.
After Haynes and Sigman leave, there will be three people on the five-member board: Skidmore and Ryan Lockhart, both Republicans from Putnam County's 1st District, and Jim Dillion, a political independent from the 2nd District.Skidmore will nominate someone from the 3rd District -- which includes the southern part of the county, Culloden and part of Hurricane -- to serve on the board. By law, Haynes said, the board can have just one more Republican member.Also Tuesday, commissioners also voted to approve renewing its contract with Travelers Insurance. The contract includes a premium increase of 22 percent, or about $112,000, for a total premium cost of $511,167.The hike still puts Travelers' premium $167,000 below the projected cost of West Virginia's Board of Risk and Insurance Management, which proposed a $678,523 premium, Haynes said. BRIM and Travelers were the only two agencies that presented insurance proposals to the county.County Manager Brian Donat said a Charleston insurance provider approached him recently and the county may consider other insurance proposals once the contract comes up again. The county currently deals with the Payne & Garlow Insurance, which serves Travelers customers in Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam counties."This isn't a quick process. Harold [Payne] and I started it at the end of March and early April, getting all of the information together and submitting it," Donat said.The Putnam County Commission will hold its next regular meeting July 9 at 9 a.m.Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nuzum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.
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