Commission appoints new member to Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority

Members of the Kanawha County Commission have appointed county economic development specialist Dave Armstrong to replace Kasey Russell on the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority.

Russell, who had been chairwoman of the Solid Waste Authority’s governing board, resigned this week along with past chairman Rod Watkins.

The resignations come in the wake of criticism by county officials of a deal the Solid Waste Authority made with private businessman George Hunyadi to run recycling operations at the crumbling Slack Street recycling center in Charleston. Solid Waste officials entered into a lease agreement with Hunyadi in 2012 to sort and ship recycling from Slack Street, but sold the businessman most of the authority’s vehicles, sorting and baling equipment. Hunyadi’s business has since failed, and he sold off most of the equipment, crippling the county’s recycling program.

The Solid Waste Authority voted to sever ties with Hunyadi in October, but by then the damage was done. Solid waste officials have been struggling ever since with how to salvage recycling in Kanawha County.

County Commissioners Kent Carper, Hoppy Shores and Dave Hardy voted unanimously at a special meeting Tuesday to appoint Armstrong to replace Russell on the Solid Waste Authority’s governing board. Russell was one of two board members appointed by the commission.

Armstrong, economic development specialist for the county commission, had already been tasked to help come up with a solution to the recycling dilemma, and has been attending regular meetings of the Solid Waste Authority. Armstrong said he is already working on a plan to save the county’s recycling efforts.

Commissioners also voted to write a letter to the state Public Service Commission urging them to appoint a replacement quickly for Watkins. Watkins was the PSC’s appointee to the solid waste board.

Also Tuesday, commissioners voted to end extended hours on Thursday at the county courthouse.

For years, the courthouse has been open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays to give county residents who work extra time to conduct county business. But staff say the extended hours aren’t utilized enough to warrant paying county workers to stay overtime on Thursdays.

Effective Jan. 1, the courthouse will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com, 304-348-1215 or follow @rusty_marks on Twitter.

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