CHARLES TOWN – More than three months after a mass resignation from the Jefferson County Development Authority, the entity tasked with bringing in jobs has its newest member.
By a 3-2 vote, the Jefferson County Commission selected David Dinges on Thursday to become the JCDA’s new labor representative.
Dinges, a Democrat who lost a House of Delegates race in November to incumbent Paul Espinosa, was listed as anti-Rockwool in materials shared before the election by opponents of the factory planned to open in Ranson next year.
He is a locomotive engineer for CSX Corp. and a union member. JCC President Patsy Noland, Ralph Lorenzetti and Jane Tabb voted for Dinges while Josh Compton and Caleb Wayne Hudson backed Brandon Fisher, a Charles Town resident who works as an electrical lineman. He’s also a union member.
Eric Lewis, then president of the JCDA and 11 members, resigned Nov. 9 amid the ongoing controversy set off just after Rockwool held a groundbreaking ceremony in late June. The project was announced in mid-2017.
After the mass walkout, the JCC voted to trim the board’s members from 21 – the maximum allowed by the state – to 15, saying the smaller number would make for easier decision-making.
Still, the JCDA remains without a quorum to conduct business.
“We all know the JCDA is not functional now,” Tabb said Thursday.
The scaled-back JCDA board includes seven spots for various county citizens, five municipality seats (one each for Charles Town, Ranson, Harpers Ferry, Bolivar and Shepherdstown), a Board of Education seat, the labor union rep and a county commissioner.
Peter Onoszko had been on the JCDA but was ousted when he lost his November race to Lorenzetti. Now Noland serves on the JCDA.
Later this month, the JCC plans to resume interviewing people who have applied for JCDA spots. So far, the JCC has interviewed more than a dozen applicants for the volunteer board.
County residents can continue to apply to serve on the JCDA until positions are filled. More information may be found on the Jefferson County website at jeffersoncountywv.org.