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Nicholas County government lays off 24, cuts pay

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Obviously, the mood was somber at the Nicholas County Courthouse on Wednesday following the announcement that two dozen employees will lose their jobs April 1 and those staying on must take a 20 percent pay cut.

At the county clerk’s office, where two positions are slated for elimination, nervous laughter could be heard. One clerk described the situation as stressful and tense.

 “It is with our deepest regret,” said Commission President Ken Altizer in a letter handed to employees Wednesday.
Altizer explained in the four-paragraph letter that because of the decline in the coal industry over the past year and a half the county’s coal severance tax collection had dropped by about $1.4 million. That doesn’t include the dollars lost from personal property tax because of the removal of mining equipment to other counties, the letter stated.

“We as commissioners are charged with keeping all mandated offices operational and therefore we must make cuts and reductions of personnel in each office,” the letter concludes.

Five departments will lose 24 full-time employees. The Nicholas County Sheriff’s Office will be hardest-hit, with one-third of the county’s deputies scheduled to lose their jobs, reducing by eight the number of officers on the 26-member force…


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