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PUTNAM COUNTY COMMISSION NEWS: Raynes Takes Oath of Office, Special Levy Status Uncertain

The August 29 Putnam County Commission meeting was photo taking time for family and friends of Kris Raynes. Raynes, with left hand upon her father’s Bible and right hand raised, swore to uphold the Constitution and the duties of Prosecuting Attorney of Putnam County. Raynes was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mark Sorsaia who resigned on July 31st to take a cabinet position with Governor Jim Justice. Sorsaia’s term was to end on December 31, 2024. Raynes has served as an assistant prosecutor under Sorsaia for 15 years. She is the first female to serve as Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney.

Raynes is a Putnam County native having graduated from Buffalo High School in 1992. She earned her undergraduate degree from Marshall University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law in 2000.

In other business of note, the commission voted to table an action which would declare the excess levy for Putnam Fire Departments and Ambulance Authority which received 52.9% of the vote in the November 2022 General Election as having passed. Before June 10, 2022, the state code stated that 60% approval was necessary for Fire Department and Ambulance excess levies to pass. An amendment to the code by the state legislature replaced the 60% approval with a simple majority vote with the stipulation that all future special levy elections be held in conjunction with a Primary or General Election. The Putnam Fire Department and Ambulance levy election received the needed majority in the 2022 General Election. County officials did not declare the levy as having passed because they were not aware of the June 10, 2022 code change. Election results must be declared within 60 days of the election. Putnam officials declared that the special levy received 52.9% of the vote but did not declare that it had been approved by voters. County Attorney Larry Frye advised the commission to seek clarification before declaring the levy to be approved at this time.

The commission amended the by-laws governing the Putnam County Animal Shelter Board to provide for staggered terms for board members. The by-laws specify the appointment of seven members, one of which must be a county commissioner. Andy Skidmore will serve as the commission member until August 31, 2026. The commission approved the following Shelter Board appointments: Robert Leslie and Lisa Copley to terms ending August 31, 2026; Jamie Totten and Tiffany Skaggs to terms ending August 31, 2025; and Judy Pauley and Sherry Hayes to terms ending August 31, 2024.

Skidmore stated that the commission interviewed 21 applicants for the six open positions on the Board. Skidmore said it was encouraging to see so many who were willing to volunteer to improve the shelter and its operation.

The next Putnam County Commission meeting will be Tuesday, September 12.

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