BUCKHANNON – “When I leave Dec. 31, this county is better off than it was six years ago, and I am proud of that.”
Reflecting on his term, outgoing Upshur County commissioner Troy A. “Buddy” Brady told My Buckhannon in a recent interview that Upshur County is in better shape now than it was when his term commenced six years ago.
Brady, who received the nickname “Buddy” during his childhood, will conclude his six-year term as a county commissioner at the end of the month. In fact, his last county commission meeting serving as a commissioner will be this Thursday, Dec. 20, as the Dec. 27 meeting has been canceled due to the holidays.
Prior to being elected, Brady was well-known in the Buckhannon-Upshur community as an Upshur County sheriff’s deputy for 36-and-a-half years.
“In 1977, a spot came open at the sheriff’s office when Eugene Suder was sheriff, and Eugene Suder was able to give me my shot at being a deputy,” Brady said. “I give him credit for that because when you look back on it, maybe if he hadn’t have done that, maybe I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
Brady added he was elected county constable prior to being a deputy until that position was eliminated.
When Brady first started working as a deputy, he recalls the sheriff’s department primarily serving papers, policing court proceedings and completing inmate transfers. Once the office began investigations, Brady began handling the investigative work.
“I have done most of the investigation work for Upshur County,” he said. “There is nobody here that has done more investigation work or solved any more crimes than I have. I’m pretty proud of that.”
But Brady doesn’t take all the credit or solving those crimes: he also commends former prosecutors for their efforts, as well, including former prosecuting attorney and current 26th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jake Reger.
After the long hours and rough days, Brady decided to retire from the sheriff’s department in 2011. That move led to his decision to run in the Upshur County Commission race.
“I had 50 felony cases probably on the books, so in 2012 I was finishing up 50 felony cases,” he recalls. “In 2013, I became county commissioner.”
Once elected, Brady’s goal was to represent the citizens of Upshur County – a goal he feels he has accomplished.
“We have accomplished several things in the past six years, and this county is better off now, six years later than it was before I started,” he said.
Looking back at his term, the financially conservative commissioner said he is proud of several accomplishments.
“We’ve been able to pay off bills, reduce debt,” he said. “The next county commission that comes in will not be saddled in debt because we haven’t put any debt on where people come in, and they are obligated to make the payments.”
Brady noted the only debt that county has currently is related to the Upshur County E911 Communication Center.
“Everything else is paid off,” he said. “This county is pretty good financially shape, and I’m glad to say I was part of that. As I leave Dec. 31, I’ll look back on it and be thankful for being able to serve the citizens of this county for over 40 years.
“I did the best I could,” he added.
Some of the commission’s accomplishments since Brady has taken office include securing grants for the community corrections program, emergency management and preparation, court security and more; repairing the Upshur County Youth Camp bridge; establishing a Red Cross office at the Comm Center building; completing courthouse repairs; purchasing updated voting machines; purchasing a new radio system for the Comm Center; approving raises for employees; adding a K-9 officer to Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and so many other achievements, Brady said.
“I’m really proud of some of these things we’ve been able to do to make things better, and all the things we’ve accomplished over the years,” he said. “My main thing is paying off the bills because I’m from the old school, and my mother used to tell me, ‘If you can’t afford to pay for it, you probably shouldn’t buy it.’”
As Brady prepares to exit from his role as commissioner, he said he’d like to leave the commission with some advice: “There’s no problem with saying ‘no,’” he advised. “I don’t believe you should ever pay a bill that you don’t owe. I don’t believe you should ever fill a slot if you can’t justify filling a slot.”
In addition to commission president Sam Nolte and commissioner Terry Cutright, Kristy Tenney will assume her role as commissioner as of Jan. 1, 2019.
Brady said he has enjoyed working with the commission and assisting the county’s residents for the last six years.
“I enjoy doing my best I can do for the citizens of Upshur County. I have always done that,” he said. “And I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve always tried to do what I thought was best for the citizens because I represented the citizens, and I’m proud of that.”
When asked if he’s considering running for commission in the future, Brady said, “Everything’s a possibility.”
“I think if I enjoy retirement, I’ll probably stay retired, but if not [then I may consider it] … and I’ve already got people wanting me to run for office,” he said. “I’ve been asked to run for two different offices right now by people, but with that being said, I don’t know. I’m going to try and sit back.”
As retirement inches closer, Brady said he plans on doing some traveling to Canada and Florida and enjoy his hobbies.
Brady also plans to stay on the Stockert Youth and Community Center’s board of directors.
While in county government, Brady served as the commission’s representative on the board, meaning his term on that board would have expired when his commission term concluded.
But Buckhannon mayor David McCauley had other plans.
Noting Brady was responsible for raising a large chunk of the funds for the revitalized SYCC capital campaign to build a multi-use auditorium/gymnasium facility, McCauley called for the expansion of the SYCC board from 10 to 11. That way, Brady could remain active serving the youth of the county, a cause he’s passionate about.
At its Dec. 6 meeting, city council approved an ordinance establishing an extra seat on the board so Brady would be able to stay put.
“When you see what Debbie Brockleman does for the youth in the county, and I’m sure if it wasn’t for the Stockert Youth Center, there’s some adults that are a lot better off today because they had a place to go,” he said. “That’s why I am so glad to be on the Stockert Youth Center board.”
During December 2017, Brady recalls sitting on the board and being the first to say he’d donate a $1,000 toward the capital campaign.
“With that, there were other people that jumped right in,” he said. “I’m proud of that. I cannot wait until that gymnasium is going to be built, and it’s coming soon.”