KEARNESYVILLE – The Jefferson County Commission plans to put the last piece in place Thursday to allow the Jefferson County Development Authority to convene and conduct its business.

The JCC intends to select a JCDA representative from Bolivar, the last position required to be filled before the board can resume its economic development work.

The board has not met since 12 JCDA board members resigned Nov. 9 amid turmoil over the authority’s role in bringing Rockwool to Ranson. At the time, the JCDA had 21 members.

As the JCC worked to reconstitute the JCDA board, it downsized the panel and appointed members to represent labor, industry and the county school board.

Only hospital administrator Neil McLaughlin, Ranson City Manager Andy Blake and Julia Yuhasz are holdovers from the JCDA in place last year.   

One of the board’s first tasks will be to find an executive director for the development authority following Nic Diehl’s resignation April 19. He’ll become executive director of the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport starting May 22.

JCC President Patsy Noland indicated that the JCC would leave the work of finding Diehl’s replacement to the JCDA board. However, the JCC will retain a final say in approving anyone the board nominates.

To hire an executive director, the JCDA in the past has formed a search committee, Diehl said. The committee would present candidates to the full board, which would select a person to nominate to the JCC.

McLaughlin, who has been the JCDA’s acting board president, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

On April 18, the JCC reappointed McLaughlin, who works at Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson, and selected three municipal representatives – Christy Huddle of Harpers Ferry, a retired city planner; Bob Gillette of Shepherdstown, a retired government contract manager; and Chris Gaidrich of Martinsburg, an account manager for Universal Forest Products in Ranson.

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