By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Because of inclement weather Monday, Jan. 25, the regular meeting of Shinnston City Council was cancelled, but new City Manager Amy Haberbosch Wilson got officially sworn in anyway by Mayor Sammy DeMarco.
“It was exciting,” Wilson exclaimed. “I’m glad to be back home; it was good to see a lot of familiar faces. I was gone several years.”
Wilson, a Lincoln High graduate, hails from the area, so most of her family is here. “I’ve tried to get back for 15 years,” she said. “This is where my roots are.”
Much of Wilson’s 25 years of professional experience have been in regional planning and grant writing. She was the Planning Director for the City of Fairmont and was Planning Administrator for Region VI Planning and Development Council, which involved six counties, including Harrison and Marion. She also garnered municipal experience as a City Planner for Maricopa, Ariz.
Wilson has a bachelor of science degree in Environmental Architecture from West Virginia University.
Her first office day of work began on Monday, Feb. 1st and she reports that things are going smoothly.
“I had thought it would be overwhelming, but it’s actually been exciting,” she stated.
Wilson, in great part, credits former City Manager Debra Herndon for making the move into a new job easier than it might have been.
“Debra has been a wealth of information,” Wilson stated. “And we are transitioning really well.”
Wilson said that Herndon goes over all aspects of the issues and information but reassures her that it’s her call on matters.
“Debra leaves it up to me to make my own decisions,” Wilson said. “I very much appreciate that.”
In other Council news…
* Council directed Wilson to work on a comprehensive emergency plan for the city. While some departments have their own individual plans, at this time, there is not a general plan for the city as a whole, Wilson reported.
“I’m to bring back to Council an emergency plan that is not only about snow storm management, but that deals with other community emergencies as well,” Wilson said. “I’ll be working with the Police Department, the Fire Department and Harrison County. What we are following now is for Harrison County. We want to create an emergency plan that is specific to Shinnston.”
Though Council believes the city did well managing issues surrounding Winter Storm Jonas, there were some aspects of concern they’d like to work on, such as designating specific sites deemed as warming shelters, keeping Main Street clear of cars during large snow storms so crews can remove the snow, and having a plan on where to put that snow once it’s removed.
For now, the Spelter Fire Department will be the warming site in case of inclement cold weather.
* Council also discussed at length the parade policy issue. Wilson will be working with the fire and police departments, along with veterans, to come up with a specific parade policy.
“We want to turn guidelines into a policy that will be on our Website to have something specific to follow to help eliminate chaos – something that is clear and concise,” Wilson reports. “It’s not meant to be strident but to help processes operate in a more organized manner.”
She concluded, “We’ll be working on issues such as where the parade should start, where to park…and look at what our options are.”