BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday appointed a longtime area conservation officer to fill its third slot.
Doug K. Bush, a supervisor for the Tygarts Valley Conservation District, will fill the vacancy left by the passing of longtime county commissioner Terry Cutright, who died unexpectedly Sept. 1, 2022.
Commissioners Kristie Tenney and Sam Nolte met briefly in an executive session during their Sept. 15 meeting to discuss letters of interest submitted by local applicants. When the commission returned to open session, Tenney, the commission president, cited West Virginia Code Chapter 3, Article 10, Section 7 pertaining to vacancies on the county commission.
“It states, ‘Any vacancy in the office of county commissioner or clerk of county commission shall be filled by appointment by the county commission,’” Tenney read. “‘The appointee must be a person of the same political party with which the person holding the office immediately preceding the vacancy was affiliated at the time the vacancy occurred: Provided, That at the time of appointment, the appointee must have been a member of that political party for at least 60 days prior to the occurrence of the vacancy.’”
Tenney said the code goes on to state that if the commission does not select an appointee within 30 days of the vacancy, the county executive committee of the same political party as Cutright, the Upshur County Republican Executive Committee, is required to submit a list of three legally qualified candidates.
That wouldn’t be necessary, Tenney said, because she and Nolte had reached a consensus on an appointee.
“We would like to thank all the individuals who reached out and submitted letters of interest to fill the vacant position for the remainder of the term of our dear friend and colleague Commissioner Cutright,” Tenney said. “Death is a tragedy in any situation, but during this time, it is especially difficult to replace our fellow commissioner. As the good book reads, ‘Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what the day may bring forth.’”
Tenney said appointing a qualified candidate as soon as possible seemed paramount.
“Commissioner Nolte and I feel in order to do right by the citizens of Upshur County, it is best for us to come to terms and agree to choose a representative from District 2 as soon as possible whom we collectively agree upon,” she said. “Everyone who submitted a letter of interest brought value to the table and we appreciate your commitment to the district. We feel confident that the following individual will work hard for the citizens of Upshur County, as he has proven his commitment to our great state through promoting and protecting the conservation of West Virginia along with his passion and service to the youth throughout his career.”
“This position often requires a tactful approach, and this individual portrayed this through a heartfelt letter of interest acknowledging the passing of Terry Cutright and what an honor it would be to serve the citizens,” Tenney continued. “At this time, I’d like to make a motion for Doug Bush to fill the vacancy of District 2 county commission seat beginning Friday, September 16 for the remainder of the noted time, November 2024.”
Nolte seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Bush, who attended Thursday’s meeting, thanked commissioners for their vote of confidence. He will serve until the November 2024 General Election and would then be required to run for office to retain the position.
Twenty-sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jacob Reger administered the oath of office to Bush at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16 in the Upshur County Circuit Courtroom; his appointment took effect immediately after.