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Mineral County in quandary over prevailing wage

KEYSER, W.Va. — As the Governor and state Republican leaders continue to battle over the prevailing wage legislation passed earlier this year, Mineral County is fighting a battle of its own over whether the rates still apply to an upcoming project at the courthouse.

County coordinator Mike Bland told the county commissioners Tuesday that the contractor that will replace the flat roofs on the two side extensions of the building may be required to pay the prevailing wage even though that practice was abolished in the legislation.

Paying the higher prevailing rate would result in an increased cost to the county government – one of the main reasons legislators repealed the rate this year.

According to Bland, however, the state’s Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority “has taken the position that since our contract was approved prior to the change in prevailing wage … we will be required to have the contractors pay the (higher) wages.”

It is Bland’s position, however, that the county should not have to pay the higher wages because the project will be done after the prevailing wage was abolished.

“The contract says we will follow West Virginia Department of Labor wages,” he said, noting that the “legislation took place in April.”

The contract for the roof replacement was signed in January.

Bland suggested contacting the West Virginia Attorney General’s office for an opinion on the dispute, but commission president Richard Lechliter didn’t feel that would be feasible.

“They haven’t settled this yet … I doubt if the attorney general could even give an opinion…

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