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Company retains W.Va. Courtesy Patrol contract

By Phil Kabler, Staff writer

Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia will continue to operate the state Courtesy Patrol under a statewide contract awarded Wednesday, despite criticism of high salaries paid to executives of the Beckley-based nonprofit agency.

The contract, with a base value of $3.185 million, was approved by the state Division of Highways and the state Purchasing Division on Wednesday. The bid, which works out to $545.41 an hour, is lower than the nonprofit group’s current base contract of $3.628 million a year.

The only other bidder was IncidentClear, a company that operates similar road service patrols in Massachusetts, Nevada and Dallas County, Texas. IncidentClear submitted a base bid of $4.587 million a year, or $785.55 an hour.

During last week’s special session, legislators passed a bill (SB2004) changing the way the Courtesy Patrol is funded.

Under a 2009 law, the state Tourism Commission has had to transfer $4.7 million a year from its Tourism Promotion Fund to the Division of Highways to fund the patrol, which operates roadside assistance trucks on 26 routes around the state.

The legislation now requires Tourism to place the $4.7 million a year in a designated fund that Highways will draw down to pay Courtesy Patrol operating costs. It designates that any unused funds at the end of each year are to be used for state tourism advertising.

During debate on that bill, some legislators asked whether they could cap salaries for executives in the organization operating the Courtesy Patrol, citing news reports indicating that five executives with CCCWV have salaries totaling in excess of $530,000.

That includes executive director Robert Martin, who reported a salary of $248,330, and Courtesy Patrol director Jennifer Douglas, with a salary of $107,500.

Jason Pizatella, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, said the state has no authority to set salaries for executives of nonprofit corporations.

CCCWV has operated the Courtesy Patrol since the welfare-to-work program was revived by then-Gov. Cecil Underwood in 1998. CCCWV’s contract with the state had expired on June 30, 2013, with the state approving repeated contract extensions to keep the service operating.

The new contract is for one year, beginning July 1, with two one-year renewal options. It requires Courtesy Patrols to operate 16 hours a day, seven days a week, generally from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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