Regarding the state hiring freeze imposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for the remainder of the 2013 budget year, callers raised two questions: One, how was Administration able to hire Gregory Melton as the new General Services Division director, and two, does the freeze apply to state hospitals, which have staffing shortages?
The answers, courtesy of Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Schuler Goodwin: The GSD position became open prior to the hiring freeze order on March 19. Hires at state hospitals fall under a critical needs exception in the order and, on Friday alone, nurses were hired at the Veterans' nursing home in Clarksburg and at Mitchell-Bateman Hospital.
Speaking of which, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey evidently did not get the governor's memo. He put out a "want ad" Friday, looking for, among other positions, a chief operating officer, assistant comptroller, network administrator, and staff attorneys...
Finally, the news that the new Morgantown ballpark will host a New York-Penn League minor league ball club, which almost certainly will be a Pittsburgh Pirates' farm team, should come as no surprise to readers of this column.
Again, it should be a great symbiotic relationship for the state's two premier cities, since in the normal course of player development, about half of the Morgantown team roster could expect to be promoted to the West Virginia Power the following season.
(Legislation to create the sales tax TIF district that will finance the $16 million ballpark (SB125) is poised for passage, despite objections from Bridgeport Mayor Jim Christie, presumably since a ball club in Morgantown puts the kibosh on efforts to attract an independent league team to the town's Charles Pointe development ... Is there some requirement that these TIF projects have to have extraneous "e's?")
Speaking of baseball, fans may want to mark May 5 on the calendar, when there will be a four-team day-night doubleheader at Power Park, with the flagship institution taking on archrival Oklahoma Sooners at 1:05 p.m., and a Power/Greenville Drive game at 5:05 p.m., as the Power observes National Train Day 2013 six days early.
(National Train Day actually is May 11 and, for the first time, events will expand from stations in major cities to include so-called secondary markets. ... Closest participating towns are Huntington and Clifton Forge, Va. ... Of the two, I'd recommend Clifton Forge...)
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.